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Cari Blalock helps UNC finish 19th in nation

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AUBURN, AL (UNC sports release March 17) -- Stephanie Peacock of the University of North Carolina women's swimming and diving team won the NCAA championship in the 1650-yard freestyle at the 2012 Division I Championships Saturday night while also eclipsing Janet Evans' NCAA record which had stood for 22 years.

As a team, UNC finished in 19th place with 44 total points. That is the highest NCAA finish by a Tar Heel team since the 2003 team placed 17th.

Peacock's winning time was 15:38.79, which broke the existing NCAA record of 15:39.14 which was set by Janet Evans of Stanford on March 17, 1990. Peacock also blistered the existing ACC and school records by eight seconds. The previous conference mark going into this year was 15:46.57 set by North Carolina's Whitney Sprague on March 21, 2009. Peacock had broken that record by less than a second at the ACC Championships.

Peacock defeated Wendy Trott of the University of Georgia by just .15 of a second in the race as Trott's runnerup time was 15:38.94, also under Evans' previous NCAA record. The two battled each other throughout the race before Peacock eked out the win in the final 100 yards.

Peacock took the lead at the 1550-yard mark and then held on in a razor close last 100 yards. Peacock outsplit Trott 28.09 to 28.14 from the 1550 to 1600 yard mark and the again 27.15 to 27.17 in the final 50-yard leg as they literally swam stroke for stroke against each other.

Peacock's title was the 16th individual national championship won in women's swimming by a UNC swimmer. It is the first since Jessi Perruquet tied for the NCAA title in the 200-yard freestyle in 2003.

Peacock's swim was all the more remarkable as she took more than a minute off her previous best career time heading into the 2011-12 school year. Peacock came into the year with a personal best of 16:39.78. She improved on that time by going 15:46.12 at the ACC Championships before dropping another seve plus seconds on Saturday.

Several other Tar Heels were in action on Saturday. Freshman Kelsey Cummings swam in her first NCAA Championships and placed 28th in the 1650-yard freestyle with a time of 16:29.71. Fellow freshman Danielle Siverling finished 46th in the 100-yard freestyle in a time of 49.79, just .11 of a second off her personal best. Senior Laura Moriarty ended her outstanding career with a 23rd place finish in the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:11.33. Sophomore Cari Blalock finished 22nd in the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 1:57.26.
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AUBURN, AL (March 16) -- The North Carolina women's swimming and diving team made its presence felt Friday on the second day of 2012 NCAA Division I Swimming & Diving Championships as the team stands in 20th place heading into the final day of competition.

Sophomore Cari Blalock and senior Laura Moriarty performed particularly well in their events being held at Auburn University. The Tar Heels also earned honorable mention All-America honors with their 14th-place finish in the 800-yard freestyle relay.

The Tar Heels finished in 19th place during the preliminary round in the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:40.00. Senior Candace Cooper led off the relay, followed by Moriarty, Blalock and freshman Danielle Siverling. The California Golden Bears finished first in the event with a time of 1:34.24.

Earlier in the day, Blalock and Moriarty swam in the preliminaries for the 400-yard individual medley, placing 13th (4:09.01) and 20th (4:11.70), respectively. Blalock qualified for the consolation final, and finished seventh in that heat with a time of 4:09.73. Blalock's time in the prelims was a personal best time, bettering her mark at this year's ACC Championships.

"Cari Blalock achieved her personal best time in the 400 IM in the preliminaries and tonight finished out with the third 4:09 plus 400 IM of her career," said UNC head coach Rich DeSelm. "She did what she needed to do this morning to put herself in a scoring position."

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Siverling swam for the Tar Heels in the 200-yard freestyle preliminary, representing her university in a 19th-place finish with a time of 1:45.66. That was the personal best time for Siverling. Her previous best was a time of 1:46.19 at the ACC Championships. Stephanie Peacoack finished in 25th place with a time of 1:45.92.

Carolina's Moriarty participated in the 100-yard breaststroke preliminary, finishing with a time of 1:02.02. Cooper represented UNC in the 100-yard backstroke preliminary. She finished with at time of 54.10.

Carolina wrapped up the evening with a 14th-place finish in the 800-yard freestyle relay. Sophomore Stephanie Peacock, Siverling, junior Katie Nolan and Blalock finished with a time of 7:08.41. An impressive Georgia group took first place in the event with a time of 6:55.96.

"Our 800 freestyle relay finished 14th in what was a very late session this evening," said DeSelm. " We got a great leadoff leg from Stephanie Peacock and then a great split from Danielle Siverling on the second leg in 1:44 plus. Katie Nolan did great job on the third leg and a tired Cari Blalock did a fine job getting us home. It is a scoring relay and all those swimmers get honorable mention All-America honors."

At the end of the second day of NCAA competition, UNC sits in 20th place in a field of 42 teams. Preliminary competition will resume tomorrow at 12:00 p.m. at Auburn University.
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AUBURN, AL (March 15) -- Sophomore Stephanie Peacock of the University of North Carolina women's swimming and diving team notched a third place finish in the 500-yard freestyle Thursday night at the 2012 NCAA Division I Swimming & Diving Championships being held at Auburn University.

Peacock finished 12 spots higher in her best event than she did in the NCAA Championships last year as a freshman. She set an ACC record in the evening in Thursday's preliminaries with a time of 4:35.02 to qualify in second place. In the finals session, she swam a 4:35.62, her second fastest time ever, in taking the bronze medal.

As a team, the Tar Heels are in 18th place after the opening day of competition after scoring 16 points on Thursday.

"We had some terrific swims today highlighted by Stephanie Peacock's third place in the 500 free," said UNC head coach Rich DeSelm. "She swam an outstanding race. She was out a little slower than this morning but she swam a great back half of the race to move up into third place."

Peacock's finish was the highest at the NCAA Championships by a Tar Heel swimmer since Whitney Sprague finished second in the 1650-yard freestyle at the 2009 meet.

"I am extremely proud of Stephanie and what she has accomplished so far this year," DeSelm continued. "This morning she swam a very smooth and controlled the first half especially from the 50 to 200-yard distances. This evening got caught up in the race but sure swam a great back half."

Earlier in the day, UNC had three other entries with Danielle Siverling finishing 20th in the 500-yard freestyle in a career best time of 4:42.51, Cari Blalock taking 21st in the 200-yard individual medley in a time of 1:58.29 and the 400-yard medley relay team of Candace Cooper, Laura Moriarty, Cari Blalock and Danielle Siverling taking 19th in a time of 3:37.79.

"Our other swims were very good today," said DeSelm. "Danielle Siverling improved by a full second in 500 by swimming a beautiful race. Any time a freshman can go faster in her first swim at NCAAs, that's a real accomplishment. I'm very proud of Danielle."

"We had a good swim out of Cari Blalock as well. She was a little bit off her ACC swim but was very competitive in the NCAA setting. It was a good first day and we have more swims tomorrow where we feel we will be very competitive."

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