NC State Tops UNC Handily in Off-Distance Dual Meet

By Spencer Penland on SwimSwam

UNC vs NC State

Wednesday, October 13th, 2021
Koury Natatorium, Chapel Hill, NC
SCY (25 yards)

Team Scores


NC State – 220
UNC – 178


NC State – 231.5
UNC – 169.5

UNC hosted NC State for an North Carolina rivalry meet featuring off-distance races such as 150s and 300s. The Wolfpack won both the men’s and women’s meets handily. The outcome was much different from the last time NC State and UNC met in a dual meet (11/20), when the NC State men’s team beat UNC by just 11 points.

The best news of the night, however, was not in the pool, but on the deck. UNC senior Emily Grund, who was recently diagnosed with leukemia, made a surprise appearance on deck to cheer on her teammates. The appearance came shortly after Grund announced Wednesday that her leukemia has officially been declared in remission. Grund, an NCAA qualifier in diving, says she plans to return to the boards when she’s able to.

The Tar Heels cleaned up on the boards, sweeping both the men’s and women’s events. 2020-2021 All-American Aranza Vazquez won women’s 1m, but didn’t compete in 3m. In her absence, Paige Burrell took home the win in women’s 3m. Anton Down-Jenkins won both the 1m and 3m men’s events.

NC State showed their speed early, taking the women’s 200 medley relay in 1:38.07. Katharine Berkoff led the squad off in 24.71, with Sophie Hansson splitting 27.56 on breast, Kylee Alons 23.28 on fly, and Heather MacCausland 22.52 on free. The Wolfpack men also won their medley relay, as Kacper Stokowski (21.75), Rafal Kusto (24.60), Giovanni Izzo (20.92), and David Curtiss (19.33) combined for a 1:26.60. UNC wasn’t far behind, clocking a 1:27.14, thanks in large part to an excellent 24.08 breast split from Valdas Abaliksta.

Katharine Berkoff kept the backstroke speed going, winning the women’s 50 back in 24.56, a tick faster than her relay lead-off. She then went on to win the women’s 100 back in 52.51. Similarly, Kacper Stokowski swept the men’s sprint back events, swimming a 21.79 in the 50, and 47.15 in the 100. Berkoff and Stokowski each swam the women’s and men’s 150 back respectively, but they swam the races exhibition (not for points). Berkoff was the fastest swimmer in the women’s field, touching in 1:23.01, while Stokowski led the men’s swimmers in 1:16.14.

NC State’s Julia Poole won the women’s 100 and 200 IMs. In the 100 IM, Poole clocked a 55.92, out-touching teammate Kate Moore by 0.18 seconds. Poole then won the 200 IM in 2:01.16, while Moore came in 2nd with a 2:01.72. Both Moore and Poole swam exhibition in the women’s 300 IM, posting the fastest times in the event. Moore swam a 3:09.29, while Poole swam a 3:12.66.

NC State’s Giovanni Izzo was impressive in the men’s 100 IM, blowing away the field to touch in 49.00. He got out to a very quick start, splitting 21.98 on the first 50, before coming home in a 27.02 on the breast/free 50. Izzo also provided a field-leading 19.61 split on the anchor leg of the NC State A 200 free relay.

UNC’s Valdas Abaliksta went on from the medley relay to sweep the men’s breast events. He swam a 25.09 to win the 50 breast by a 0.01 second margin over Rafal Kusto of NC State. Abaliksta then won the men’s 100 breast in 54.62, then clocked a 1:26.01 to win the 150 breast.

UNC’s Grace Countie picked up wins in the women’s 150 free, swimming a 1:18.86. She wasn’t the fastest swimmer in the field, however, as NC State’s Kylee Alons swam exhibition and touched in 1:18.81. Countie and Alons battled all meet. Alons won the women’s 50 free in 22.47, while Countie touched 2nd in 22.50. Countie then got the better of Alons in the 100 free, swimming a 49.28 to Alons’ 49.34.

NC State’s Brooke Travis won the women’s 600 free in 5:54.17, and the 400 free in 3:53.68, while Ross Dant did the same in the men’s events with times of 5:18.88 and 3:30.28 respectively.

Abby Arens picked up wins in all 3 of the women’s fly events for NC State. Arens first swam a 24.45 to win the women’s 50 fly. She later clocked a 53.07 to win the 100 fly handily, then swam a 1:24.24 to win the 150 fly by over 4 seconds.



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