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NC State Men Rock 1:16.31 200 Free Relay On First Day Of Showdown Against UVA and UNC

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By Robert Gibbs on SwimSwam

NC State Men Rock 1:16.31 200 Free Relay On First Day Of Showdown Against UVA and UNC

VA VS. UNC VS. NC STATE

  • January 20-21, 2023
  • Koury Natatorium, Chapel Hill, North Carolina (Friday) and Willis R. Casey Aquatic Center, Raleigh, NC (Saturday)
  • SCY (25 Yards)
  • Livestream
  • Live Results under “UVA v NCST v UNC Tri Meet” on MeetMobile

We’re less than three weeks into the new year, but we’ve already seen plenty of mind-bogglingly fast swimming in college dual meets. And while the men’s side of the first day Virginia, North Carolina, and NC State tri meet didn’t see anything quite as eye-popping as Gretchen Walsh’s nation-leading time in the 100 back (or the chaos of the ASU-Stanford meet), there was still plenty for swim fans to get excited about.

We’ll skip to the end of the day, though, where the NC State men capped the session with a 1:16.31 time in the 200 free relay, a mark which moves them up to #5 in the nation, pending other results from today.

50 free specialist David Curtiss led off for the Wolfpack in 19.33, then Noah Henderson (19.05) and Luke Miller (19.04) had nearly identical splits, before Nyls Korstanje anchored in an impressive 18.89. That’s the official best time this season for NC State, whose ‘A’ relay drew a disqualification at the NC State Invite back in November.

That final event win was one of seven different victories for the Wolfpack men during the evening. The meet began with the 400 medley relay, where Kacper Stokowski (46.15), Mason Hunter (53.22), Nyls Korstanje (45.62), and Luke Miller (42.28) combined for a 3:07.27. That’s actually 0.01s faster than the Wolfpack went at the aforementioned midseason invite, albeit with quite the different lineup.

In the first individual event of the night, the 500 free, James Plage led a 1-3 Wolfpack sweep with a time of 4:21.02. Next, Noah Bowers (1:44.70) and Luke Miller (1:44.97) pushed other to take the top events in the 200 fly.

David Curtiss then easily handled the 50 free, winning with a time of 19.28 that put him exactly 0.30s ahead of the next-fastest competitor, his teammate Noah Henderson (19.58).

The next-to-last individual event of the day, the 200 back, featured a rematch the 2nd and 3rd place finishers at last year’s ACC Championships, UVA’s Jack Aikins and NC State’s Hunter Tapp. Aikins won that battle (and the NCAA B-final) last year, but Tapp got the edge tonight, beating the UVA sophomore 1:43.3 to 1:44.95.

This could have also been a headline — NC State freshman Kyle Ponsler closed out the individual competition with a lifetime best of 3:44.23 to win the 400 IM. Ponsler, who we included in the Best of the Rest category for the high school class of 2022., came out of high school with a best time of 3:47.75. He improved to 3:46.78 at November’s invite, and now he’s knocked another 2+ seconds off of that time. He’s now less than a second shy of the 3:43.50 it took to qualify for NCAAs last year in this event.

The Virginia Cavaliers only got one event win, and that came courtesy of Noah Nichols, who’s been swimming fast all season. The junior won the 200 breast with a time of 1:56.77, finishing over three seconds of the next-swiftest man, fellow Cavalier Max Iida at 1:59.60.

UVA is largely built around sprinting, and for the second meet in a row, they were missing two of their key sprint cogs. According to UVA sources, Matt King has been out due to family issues, while Connor Boyle is out 1-4 weeks with an unspecified injury. Without those two, the Cavaliers went 1:18.32 in the 200 free relay, including a 19.03 anchor leg from senior August Lamb.

The big performance of the day for the UNC Tar Heels came not in the pool, but on the diving boards. Stalwart Anton Down-Jenkins set a new school record on the 3m boards with a score of 461.05. UNC’s best swimming result came in the 400 medley relay, where they placed 4th with a time of 3:18.59.

Since this is technically a two-day meet, we don’t have any scores handy, but the action continues tomorrow, with the venue shifting from UNC to NC State.

SwimSwam: NC State Men Rock 1:16.31 200 Free Relay On First Day Of Showdown Against UVA and UNC

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