Panther swimmers break records at ACCs


With a time of 6:28.37, Eben Vorster (above), Luke Smutny, Samy Helmbacher and Brian Lovasik broke Pitt’s 800m freestyle relay record, which was set in 2014. John Hamilton | Visual Editor

By Kait French | Staff Writer

The Panthers impressed their fans yet again over the first two days of the ACC Championship meet, complete with three new records and two record-breaking swims.

With a time of 6:28.37, Eben Vorster, Luke Smutny, Samy Helmbacher and Brian Lovasik broke the team’s record in the 800 freestyle relay. The previous mark of 6:28.61 stood for three years before the Panthers’ effort Monday. Despite the swimmers’ historic performance, the team ultimately placed 10th in the event.

Although the 200 medley relay team did not swim its way onto the record board, redshirt senior Henrique Machado became the first Panther to record a sub-22 second backstroke split in the event on Monday. With a 21.73 time in his leg of the race, Machado along with Nick Stachel, Gabe Larson and Haden Calegan helped Pitt finish in ninth place.

Sophomore Aaron Sett shattered the team’s 500 freestyle record during Tuesday’s preliminary swim with a time of 4:18.29. Eric Limkemann set the previous mark 13 years ago with a time of 4:23.16. Sett, who came into ACCs seeded 25th in the 500 free, ended up exceeding all expectations by placing eighth in Tuesday’s final.

In the 200 individual medley, both Larson and senior Zach Lierley crushed Mack Rice’s three-year-old record time of 1:47.41. With times of 1:46.19 and 1:46.45, respectively, Larson and Lierley each beat the old mark in time trials.

The two swimmers slowed down a little bit in Tuesday night’s finals with respective times of 1:46.94 and 1:47.29, but their efforts were still good enough for 23rd and 24th place.

Head coach John Hargis was thrilled with the success his swimmers enjoyed on Tuesday.

“Today is a great day for Pitt swimming,” Hargis said in a press release. “I’m so pleased for Aaron, Gabe and Zach for their performances today. They really stepped up on a big stage to break school records — and convincingly.”

Despite rewriting the record books, the Panthers have struggled in relation to the rest of the ACC so far in Atlanta. Out of 12 teams, Pitt is currently in ninth place with 251 points.

The Panthers resume action Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. with preliminary races in the 400 IM, 100 Fly, 100 breast and 100 back. The finals for these events will also be held that night at 6 p.m.

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