By Matt Bradshaw —
Women’s swimming and diving took third place at the ACC Championships after four days of competitive racing. Louisville accumulated 10 medals throughout the event and continues to cement the program’s status as a power in the conference.
Mallory Comerford, already one of the most decorated student-athletes on campus, dominated racing and won a team-high three gold medals. For her performance, the senior earned the Most Valuable Swimmer Award for the second time in her ACC career.
“It was an emotional moment to think that this is the last ACC Championship,” Comerford said. “All the Cardinals before me paved the way and I hope what I accomplished inspires my teammates after I graduate. I am excited to get ready for the NCAAs.”
Medals started falling on day one. The team of senior Sophie Cattermole, sophomore Arina Openysheva, freshman Alena Kraus and Comerford won silver in the 800 free relay.
Comerford won her first gold in the 500 freestyle on day two, setting a school record and putting up the fastest time in the country in the process.
“The moment is bittersweet because my career has gone by so fast,” Comerford said. “It has been an incredible journey. It may be my last 500 freestyle in my career so that was motivating me. It was all for my teammates.”
The Cards grabbed two more medals on the second day. Junior Grace Oglesby won bronze in the 200 individual medley, and the team of junior Lainey Visscher, Comerford, junior Avery Braunecker and junior Casey Fans won silver in the 200 freestyle relay.
On day three, Comerford won her second gold medal in the 200 freestyle. The race is Comerford’s bread and butter, as she’s won it back-to-back years at the NCAA Championships.
“This is my favorite event and I wanted to get this for my team,” Comerford said. “I love to race and compete with my team, and keep pushing to get better and elevate my swims.”
Oglesby finished the day with her second medal of competition, winning silver in the 100 butterfly.
On the final day of racing, Comerford won her third gold medal and set a meet record in the 100 freestyle. Sophomore Morgan Frisen kept the medals coming with bronze in the 200 breaststroke.
Oglesby won her third medal with first place in the 200 butterfly. Kraus won bronze in the same event.
“It was great to get the win, especially racing next to my teammate Alena Kraus who has pushed me and trained with me all year,” Oglesby said. “It was the best feeling in the world.”
The Louisville men begin their ACC Championships on Wednesday, March 27. After that, the NCAA Championships are March 20-24 in Austin, Texas. The Louisville women will look to top last year’s performance when they finished a program-best fifth place.
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Photo courtesy / Swimming World Magazine