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Courtesy: Duke Photography
Sophomore Christine Wixted
Blue Devil Women Defeat Clemson and Richmond
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 01/28/2012
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DURHAM, N.C. - The Duke women's swimming and diving team collected a pair of victories in the regular season finale Saturday in Taishoff Aquatic Pavilion, downing Richmond, 167.5-117.5, and defeating ACC opponent Clemson by a 159-130 margin. The Blue Devil men also turned in several standout performances, but could not hold off Clemson, falling 156-144.

The Blue Devil diving corps made a clean sweep on the low boards, as senior Jessica Lyden won the 1-meter competition with a career-best score of 325.45. She also took first at the 3-meter height, scoring 357.35 to collect another NCAA Zone Diving qualifying standard. On the men's side, freshman Clay Pinckney followed up a second-place performance on the 1-meter board in Friday's meet against North Carolina with his first career win Saturday, earning a personal-best score of 318.50. Pinckney also placed second in the 3-meter competition, finishing just behind senior Cody Kolodziejzyk who won the event at 377.05.

"This was probably the best performance out of the group all year, which bodes really well as we're getting ready for ACCs," said diving coach Drew Johansen. "It was a great day all-around."

Duke swimmers continued to excel in the relay events during Saturday's meet, with the women's 200 medley team of freshman Megan McCarroll, sophomore Christine Wixted, senior Steffi Niessl and sophomore Lauren Weaver starting things off with a first-place finish (1:43.98). The Blue Devil men followed up with a second-place showing in the event, clocking 1:30.78.

Senior Rose O'Connor opened up the individual events with a 10:14.25 performance in the 1,000 free to take first. Wixted swept the women's breaststroke events for the second consecutive meet, winning the 100 breast with a time of 1:03.47 and swimming 2:17.37 to touch first at the 200-yard distance.  

Freshman Ali Horn notched another victory for the Blue Devil women in the 200 fly (2:04.80), while senior Meghan Dwyer picked up a win in the 500 free (5:01.10). The women tied for second with Richmond in the final event of the day, the 200 free relay, to secure overall team victories over both squads and improve to 5-7 overall and 1-6 in ACC competition this season.  

"On the women's side, I think we had some super performances," said head coach Dan Colella. "These kinds of swims with the relays are definitely a lot faster than we have been in previous years. It's the last meet of the season, so now it's time to rest and prepare."

The Blue Devil men saw pool records fall for the second time in as many days, as graduate student Piotr Safronczyk bested his own mark in the 100 breast with a 55.73 clocking to finish first. Junior Jim Zuponeck and sophomore Tyler Fleming completed the Duke sweep, coming in second and third, respectively. Safronczyk also claimed his first victory of the year in the 200 breast, winning with a mark of 2:05.31. Sophomore Hunter Knight finished right behind Safronczyk at 2:06.25, while also taking second in the 200 IM (1:53.57).

Senior Ben Tuben collected his second-best time of the season to finish second in the 50 free (20.98), and junior Adam Flur swam a personal-best 46.31 in the 100 free to also take second. Tuben returned a few events later to post a win in the 100 fly, touching in 49.20. In a tightly contested 200 free relay, Clemson just edged the team of Flur, Safronczyk, freshman Jack Forese and Tuben, who combined for a time of 1:22.86.

The loss dropped the Duke men to 4-7 on the year and 1-6 in conference action.

"We knew that Clemson would be a very tough opponent," Colella said. "I think this is going to get us that much more hungry to perform at ACCs."

Saturday's meet also marked Senior Day for 10 Blue Devils who will be graduating in May. Catherine Conklin, Meghan Dwyer, Shawn Hoffman, Cody Kolodziejzyk, Jessica Lyden, Steffi Niessl, Rose O'Connor, Hunter Roux, Piotr Safronczyk and Ben Tuben were recognized prior to the start of the swimming events.

"It's sad to see the seniors finish up their career here ... but they've been really instrumental in helping this program grow over the last four years," Colella said. "We're excited for them, we're going to miss them and we're definitely looking forward to their performances in two and three weeks."

The men's and women's swimming and diving teams return to action Feb. 15-18 for the Women's ACC Championships and Feb. 22-25 for the Men's ACC Championships. Both events will be hosted by Virginia Tech at the Christiansburg Aquatic Center in Christiansburg, Va.


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