Smutny, Vorster lead Pitt at Day 1 of ACC Championships

With 104 team points, Pitt currently sits in eighth place out of 12 teams on the first day of the ACC Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina.

The Pitt men’s swim team got off to a strong start on the first day of the ACC Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina, breaking school records and showing serious overall improvement upon previous seasons. Although a lot of swimming remains to be seen, it certainly seems Pitt has wandered into unfamiliar yet welcome territory — the middle of the pack.

In the two relay events offered Wednesday, Pitt seniors Luke Smutny and Eben Vorster shined.

Pitt’s 200-yard medley relay quartet of Smutny, sophomore Cooper Van der Laan, junior Blaise Vera and junior Ellis Cannon tied for fifth place with a time of 1:25.03. Smutny led off the event with a school record 21.63-second split in the 50-yard backstroke. 

In the 800-yard freestyle relay, Vorster, senior Samy Helmbacher, junior Armin Remenyi and Smutny finished earned eighth place with a time of 6:21.72. This time it was Vorster who got the Panthers off to a blazing start, swimming the best 200-yard freestyle time, 1:34.96, in program history.

With 104 team points, Pitt currently sits in eighth place out of 12 ACC teams.

“It was a very positive start for the team, and we’re ahead of where we were a year ago in the opening session,” head coach John Hargis said. “We’re in a spot to battle for team placement over the next few days.”

All things considered, it was a productive day for the team. Pitt is unlikely to finish anywhere near the top of the loaded ACC during this year’s championship, but for a team used to settling in or near last, progress is progress. The Panthers will see if they can maintain their momentum through the next three days of competition.

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