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.