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Penn-Trafford graduate McCurdy readies for NCAA championships

| Tuesday, March 18, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
N.C. State Athletics
North Carolina State's Christian McCurdy swims in a dual meet against Villanova in Rahleigh, N.C.

With one set of preseason goals officially accomplished, Christian McCurdy is focusing on the next step.

The North Carolina State sophomore swimmer is preparing for next weekend's NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships after winning a pair of individual titles in the 400-yard individual medley and 200 butterfly at the Atlantic Coast Conference Championships earlier this month.

“Throughout the season, me and my primary coach Gary (Taylor) were working to tweak a couple things with my stroke for the 200 fly and 400 IM,” said McCurdy, a 2012 Penn-Trafford graduate. “Being able to go in and being able to actually swim just the way we talked about it was a very good feeling, and it was very exciting.

“But at the same time, right now NCAAs is coming up. I'm very happy about it, but at the same time, I'm just trying to get ready for NCAAs.”

McCurdy qualified for the NCAA meet last season in the 200 fly, but he didn't make it to the finals.

Coming into this season, McCurdy set some higher goals: winning the conference title in the 400 IM and 200 fly, setting a conference record in the 200 fly and placing in both events at the NCAA meet.

The final goal remains the same.

“My goals for sure are definitely to put up points for this team,” he said. “I don't want to go to this meet again and not score for our team. I would definitely like to get in the top eight of the 200 butterfly. It's definitely going to be based on how I swim in the morning. I'm just going to get out and go for it. I would also like to score in the 400 IM.”

McCurdy is seeded third in the 200 fly and 12th in the 400 IM. The top 16 placewinners score points for their team. He is also eligible to swim in the 500 freestyle, but he said he wasn't sure if he would.

At the ACC Championships, McCurdy set a school record in the 400 IM with a time of 3 minutes, 43.61 seconds, more than four seconds faster than his previous personal best. The next day, he swam 1:41.72, breaking the previous conference record of 1:42.19.

“When I was swimming the race, I knew it was going to be very competitive,” McCurdy said. “That was the exciting thing about the race, and what made it fun. … I saw going off the last wall that I was right there with (North Carolina's) Benn Colley and (Virginia Tech's) Morgan Latimer, who I could see. I just wasn't sure which one of us was going to get our hand on the wall first.”

McCurdy's two first-place finishes helped the N.C. State men finish in second place at the ACC meet.

“I think (people) were slightly disappointed because we were hoping to win the meet,” McCurdy said. “But we kept it extremely close, and everybody swam exceptionally well. When you look at it from that perspective, how can we be that disappointed about a second-place finish when everybody swam that well?”

After the Wolfpack placed 15th at last season's NCAA championships, McCurdy said the team is shooting for a top-10 finish next weekend. The NCAA meet will take place from March 27-29 in Austin, Texas.

Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-388-5830, via email at dgulasy@tribweb.com or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.

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