Nearly a month removed from its last competition, the East Carolina swimming and diving teams return to action this week at the Georgia Tech Invitational beginning Friday. The entirety of the event will be streamed on ACC Network Extra.

ECU will send some of the American Athletic Conference’s and the nation’s fastest swimmers into competition against an NCAA championship format field that will include host Yellow Jackets and also Alabama, Florida State, North Carolina, South Carolina and the sixth-ranked Florida men.

The Pirates occupy 22 top-three positions in the AAC’s event rankings, and have 17 NCAA top-50 times.

“I expect to see us compete against some of the best in the country, with the same energy and confidence we have carried throughout the first semester,” Pirate coach Matthew Jabs said. “Our goals for this meet are pretty simple; we want to be better than we’ve been all season in our individual performances. I want to have a lot of swimmers and divers competing at night in finals. We are not focused on team points or place, we are looking at swimming and diving at our best to put us in a great position to be seeded high at the American championship meet in February.”

Lyubomir Epitropov has the top-ranked time of any ECU swimmer in any event with the 12th-fastest mark in the 200-yard breaststroke. He also is 34th in the 100 breaststroke.

Each of the four men’s relay teams rank among the top-31, with the 400 medley relay group of Marek Osina, Epitropov, Gustavo Santos and James Ward occupying the No. 23 spot. Santos, Ward, Eric Hunderup and Pedro Guieros are 25th in the 200 freestyle relay.

Osina is ranked among the top-40 individually in three events.

The Pirate women have two top-50 relay times, led by the foursome of Catherine Johnson, Keyla Brown, Adela Vavrinova and Laura Benkova posting the 38th-fastest 200 freestyle relay mark. Johnson, Jodi Ogle, Lily West and Shannon Stott are No. 41 in the 400 medley relay.

ECU completed the fall portion of the dual meet season with a record of 6-1 on the women’s side and 5-1 for the men.

“The combination of quality training, and team environment has allowed us to progress our training a little faster than previous seasons,” Jabs said. “Our top kids have been a great example for the rest of team, they understand there is no offseason.”

Hoops loss

The East Carolina women’s basketball team was stifled by a typically effective VCU defense Wednesday when the Pirates fell 53-40 to the Rams in Richmond, Va.

ECU (1-4) shot 17-of-62 (.274) from the floor and 3-of-9 (.333) from 3-point range. Lashonda Monk had a game-high 16 points as the only Pirate to score in double figures, hitting all three ECU triples.

VCU (2-2), which led 17-8 at the end of the first quarter, got 10 points from three different players. Madison Hattix-Covin had 10 points and seven rebounds.

Wood all-conference

Junior right-side hitter Bri Wood was named to this year’s All-American Athletic Conference volleyball second-team for the first time in her career.

Wood finished the regular season 10th in the conference in kills per set (3.27) and points per set (3.53), and she tied for second among league players with a team-high 16 double-doubles. She will enter her senior season standing at 893 kills and 731 digs for her career.