MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University swimming and diving team completed the second day of competition at the NC State GAC Invitational with freshman Morgan Bullock
earning an NCAA B qualifying time and sophomore Merwane El Merini
claiming a top-seven finish on Friday, in Greensboro, North Carolina.
On the second day of competition at the Greensboro Aquatic Center, Bullock earned an NCAA B qualifying time in the 100 butterfly and El Merini advanced to the A finals in the 100 backstroke, his second A final finish of the weekend. Friday’s A, B and C finals featured 13 West Virginia swimmers – one A finalist, three B finalists and nine in the C finals.
“It was a very good day today,” said coach Vic Riggs. “I thought our morning session was about as strong as we could have made it. We had several lifetime-best times and 24 final swims, which was great. Taylor (Gill) started the night with a strong 400 individual medley, followed by our butterfliers, led by Morgan (Bullock) with an NCAA B cut. Jack (Portmann) had the best finish for the men with a 50.00. Our ladies did a great job in the 200 freestyle, led by Amelie (Currat). Ryan (Kelly) and Drew (Damich) had very good swims as well. After winning a swim-off for 15th with a 1:03.33, Emma (Harris) had a great swim along with Marah (Bieger) and Loren (Williams). Drew (Riebel) and Jake (Armstrong) had solid swims. Amelie (Currat) came back and had a strong 100 backstroke as did Julia (Miranda), Taylor (Gill) and Maggie (Miller). Merwane (El Merini) had our only top-eight final tonight with a great 100 backstroke in 48.99.
“Our relays weren't as strong as last night but all did improve. We have a strong day tomorrow to finish our weekend, but so far considering how young we are, I'm very pleased with how we are swimming and competing.”
NC State men’s team leads the nine-team event with 1,406 points, followed by Notre Dame (1,145), Duke (938), UNC (841), Air Force (694), Tennessee (617) and West Virginia (392). For the women, UNC leads with 1,277.5 points, followed by NC State (1,258), Duke (1,062.5), Notre Dame (897.5), Tennessee (598.5), WVU (389), Marshall (377) and Miami (377).
In the A final of the men’s 100 backstroke, El Merini placed seventh with a season-best time of 48.99, just 0.10 seconds away from matching his career-best time. Freshman Luke Hene
swam a season-best time of 50.20 in the prelims to advance to the C finals, where he placed 22nd overall.
Bullock advanced to the B Finals in the women’s 100 butterfly, placing 10th overall with an NCAA B-qualifying and season-best time of 54.01. Freshman Julia Miranda
placed 20th overall in the C final with a time of 55.66 after advancing with a season-best time of 55.31 in the prelims.
Sophomore Emma Harris
swam a season-best 1:03.33 in the B final of the women’s 100 breaststroke to place 15th overall.
On springboard for the Mountaineer men, juniors Michael Proietto
and Alex Obendorf
advanced to the finals on 3-meter. Proietto placed ninth overall in the finals with a score of 312.30 after a 313.60 in the prelims. Obendorf advanced to the finals and placed 12th after a prelim score of 303.80.
In the women’s 100 backstroke, junior Amelie Currat
placed fifth in the B final and 13th overall with a time of 54.76. Miranda advanced to the C final of the 100 backstroke, placing 19th overall with a season-best 55.16.
For the WVU men, freshman Jack Portmann
placed fourth in the C final and 20th overall in the 100 butterfly. He touched the wall in a season-best 50.00.
Junior Taylor Gill
advanced in the C final of the women’s 400 individual medley, finishing in 21st overall with a time of 4:28.83 after a season-best time of 4:26.01 in the prelims.
In the C final of the women’s 200 freestyle, Currat placed 19th overall with a season-best time of 1:50.05. Sophomore Morgan Carr
placed 24th overall with a time of 1:52.75 after a season-best time in the prelims of 1:51.40.
Freshman Ryan Kelly
advanced to the C final in the men’s 200 freestyle, placing 21st overall with a time of 1:39.28 after a season-best time of 1:39.26 in the prelims.
Sophomore Jake Armstrong
swam a season-best time of 56.25 in the prelims to advance to the C final of the men’s 100 breaststroke, where he placed 24th overall.
In the women’s 200 medley relay, a team of sophomores Maggie Miller
and Harris and freshmen Bullock and Miranda placed 11th with a time of 1:43.13.
On the first day, three Mountaineers earned NCAA B qualifying times while numerous swimmers posted career-best and season-best times. WVU had five swimmers punch their tickets to Thursday evening’s A, B and C finals in their respective events, with two A finalists, one B finalist and two in the C final. Additionally, three divers advanced to the finals and earned top-11 finishes.
The final day of the NC State Invite commences on Saturday with prelims starting at 9:30 a.m. and finals at 5:30 p.m.
Looking ahead after this weekend, West Virginia will have six weeks off before traveling to compete against Pitt on Jan. 7 at 10 a.m. ET.
400 Freestyle Relay