Giordano breaks record, Pitt swims past WVU


Pitt senior Dominic Giordano set the school record in the 1M dive on Saturday. Jordan Mondell | Contributing Editor

By Bayard Miller | Assistant Sports Editor

Dominic Giordano has already enjoyed incredible success as a diver for the Pitt Panthers, winning the NCAA Championship in the 3-meter last year. Saturday afternoon, the senior from Wexford, Pennsylvania, added to his already impressive legacy with a historic performance.

Giordano, the reigning NCAA champion in the three-meter dive, broke the school record in the one-meter dive against the West Virginia Mountaineers Saturday morning at Trees Pool. Giordano posted a six-dive score of 434.63, shattering Pitt’s 9-year-old record of 408.40 set by Alex Volovetski in 2008.

“Dominic Giordano is most certainly the best diver the University of Pittsburgh has ever had,” Pitt diving coach Julian Krug said in a press release. “The record he set today was a very legitimate one-meter school record. He is a much better diver this year than he was last year when he won a national title. I am so happy that he has continued to improve.”

The Panthers may not play their historic archrival West Virginia on the gridiron or the basketball court on a regular basis any longer, but the Backyard Brawl is still active in the natatorium, where Pitt has dominated the Mountaineers over the past couple decades. The Panthers entered the 23rd matchup holding an 18-4 edge in the all-time series.

This Saturday marked the Panthers’ first time hosting a meet at Trees in over two months. But any fears the team would come out flat in their first competition since the holidays were quickly dispelled as both the men’s and women’s teams combined to win 27 of 32 events during the meet.

By the time the water stilled in the mid-afternoon, both teams emerged victorious over their former Big East foes in dominating fashion. Pitt’s men’s team (3-4, 1-4 ACC) racked up 214 points to West Virginia’s 86, while the women’s squad won with almost as convincing a margin, with the final tally being 205.5-94.5.

The performances of two international newcomers — Boris Kulizhnikov, a Russian swimmer who transferred from UNLV and Eben Vorster, a first-year mid-season addition from Bloemfontein, South Africa — aided the men’s team in their winning effort.

Both swimmers won all the events they participated in Saturday. Kulizhnikov finished first in both the 100- and 200-meter events in breaststroke, with the respective times of 57.02 and 2:03.60. He also helped lead the Panthers to victory in the 200 medley relay, swimming the breast leg of the race in 25.90.

Vorster showed off his all-around ability in the pool with victories in the 100 and 200 butterfly with times of 50.22 and 1:49.78 respectively, the 200 individual medley with a time of 1:51.94, and with his contribution to the 400 freestyle relay with a 3:03.36.

Pitt head swimming and diving coach John Hargis displayed his confidence in the new swimmer’s abilities by making him the anchor of the relay team. Vorster did not disappoint, posting a 45.65 split to close out the event win.

While Vorster, Kulizhnikov and Giordano dominated the meet for the men’s team, a variety of victories spurred the women’s win.

Junior Amanda Richey won the 200 free with a 1:52.83, the 500 with a 4:57.52 and the 1,000 with a 10:03.48, displaying her ability to excel in both the mid- and long-distance freestyle races.

Freshman Valerie Daigneault from Mont-Royal, Quebec, showed that she will be a valuable swimmer for the Panthers for years to come as she finished in first place in both the 100 and 200 back, with times of 56.40 and 1:59.92

Alongside other multiple event winners such as juniors Emily Murphy and Meme Sharp and senior Kinga Cichowska, the women powered past the Mountaineers, racking up more than twice as many points as their adversaries.

“I thought our team raced really well today,” Hargis said in the release. “Coming into this meet, we wanted to continue to improve upon what we’ve been doing all year, and I think we did that.”

But the victory does not seem to have distracted from the head coach’s long term goals for the season.

“Going forward, we have to continue to polish some things,” Hargis said in the release. “We’re a few details away from being a very, very good team on both sides — men’s and women’s. We have to figure out ways to get our hands to the wall faster. That’s our aim as we get closer to the ACC Championships.”

Next up for Pitt is a tri-meet vs. Denison and ACC rival Florida State at Trees Pool Saturday, Jan. 14, at 11 a.m.

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