Otava Sets School Record at First Chance Meet
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Aino Otava led the way for the Hurricanes at the First Chance Meet Friday, setting a school record in the 200-yard butterfly at the final home competition of the season at the Whitten Center Pool.
Otava was one of three Hurricanes to earn NCAA ‘B’ cuts Friday in the time trial meet, posting a career-best time of 1:57.24 in one of her signature events.
“Definitely shoutout to Aino getting the school record right off the bat,” head swimming coach Andy Kershaw said. “One of the cool things about that is, that was the first event and she’s up there all by herself. The way that swim goes does a lot in terms of setting the tone for the team. She really lived up to that. She really started us off right.”
Grace McGinnis and Nicole Sowell followed up Otava’s performance with best times in the 200-yard freestyle. McGinnis touched the wall in a time of 1:51.53, while Sowell did so in 1:51.62.
“We had a lot of best times, a lot of really good swims,” Kershaw said. “We didn’t do everything that we were looking to do, but that’s kind of the design – this opens the door to our fastest swimming, and we just get faster from here. The door gets wider and wider open as we head into ACC Championships.”
In addition to Otava, Sydney Knapp managed a ‘B’ cut in the 50-yard freestyle (22.76) while Emma Sundstrand (1:00.77) accomplished the feat in the 100-yard breaststroke.
“That meet was fun, for sure. This team makes it fun,” Kershaw said. “They bring a lot of energy. We did that once again. A little different environment at our pool in more of a time trial-type format, and they still made it electric. That was great to see.”
Impressive other performances included freshman Jacey Hinton moving into fourth place in school history in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 49.66.
Knapp moved into fourth in the 50 free with her ‘B’ cut time.
The Hurricanes travel to the ACC Swimming & Diving Championships next week for their annual conference tournament.
“These are things that are earned,” she said. “They’re not given to them. To see them go through the journey and earn it is amazing. So many great swims scattered throughout. There were a lot of good swims, a lot of electricity and we’re going to carry that forward.”