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Duke Opens Campaign at All-North Carolina Invite
Wednesday 10/04/2012  -  Duke Sports Information
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DURHAM, N.C. - Following a historic year for the Duke swimming & diving program, the Blue Devils are set to kick off the 2012-13 campaign this weekend at the inaugural All-North Carolina Invitational in Greensboro, N.C. The season-opening meet will feature 13 teams from across the state, with NC State hosting the action at the Greensboro Aquatic Center, the site of the 2013 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships.

The meet will get underway on Friday, Oct. 4 at 5:30 p.m. and will continue Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Men's and women's teams from Catawba, Davidson, East Carolina, Gardner-Webb, Greensboro College, Lenoir-Rhyne, NC State, Pfeiffer, Queens University of Charlotte and Wingate will all be in attendance at the two-day event, as well as women's teams from Campbell, North Carolina A&T and UNC Asheville.

"It's exciting to get this many teams together in a brand-new facility in Greensboro," said head coach Dan Colella. "It will give us a chance to swim in the venue and see what the atmosphere is going to be like for the ACC Championships. We're just excited to see what the year holds for us."

Historic Summer for Blue Devil Program
Members of the Duke swimming & diving program had a busy summer that was capped by two Duke divers - Abby Johnston and Nick McCrory - capturing Olympic medals at the 2012 London Games. With Duke diving coach Drew Johansen guiding them as the head coach of the United States diving team in London, Johnston and partner Kelci Bryant won the silver medal in the women's 3-meter synchronized diving event, and McCrory, paired with David Boudia, took bronze in the men's 10-meter platform competition. In addition, McCrory also advanced to the finals of the men's individual 10-meter event, placing ninth overall. Earlier in the summer, Johnston and McCrory solidified their trips to London with outstanding performances at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Diving in Federal Way, Wash.

Blue Devil swimmers were also well represented on the national scene during the summer months, with former All-America and 2011 graduate Ashley Twichell winning 5K and 10K open water national titles in April.  Twichell went on to compete at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Omaha, Neb., where she was joined by eight current Duke swimmers. Ben Hwang, Hunter Knight, Ted Minturn, Jim Zuponeck, Megan McCarroll, Cara Vogel, Lauren Weaver and Christine Wixted all competed against 1,500 of the nation's best swimmers in the strongest trials showing in school history.   

Duke was also recognized for another excellent year in the classroom following the 2011-12 season, with the program placing four student-athletes (Jessica Lyden, Minturn, Piotr Safronczyk and Wixted) on the All-ACC Academic teams and 33 on the ACC Academic Honor Roll. In addition, Lyden became the first Blue Devil  in program history to garner Academic All-America first team honors.  

Returners Set to Lead Teams
Both the men's and women's teams welcome back a strong group of returning letterwinners this year, including All-ACC performer Wixted on the women's side. Weaver, the program record holder in the 50 freestyle, and Vogel, who owns the school record in the 200 backstroke, will also be back for the Blue Devil women. Hwang and junior Steven Gasparini return for the Duke men after teaming with 2012 graduates Safronczyk and Ben Tuben to set an ACC record in the 200 medley relay last season. In addition, Alex Harmon will begin his senior campaign as the men's top distance freestyler and the program record holder in the 500 freestyle, 1,000 freestyle, 1,650 freestyle and the 400 IM.

The Blue Devils will also return two NCAA individual champions in Johnston and McCrory, who redshirted the 2011-12 campaign in order to train for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Duke Welcomes Strong Recruiting Class
The Blue Devil program added 16 freshmen to the roster for the 2012-13 season, with eight states and four countries represented by the group of newcomers. The class of 2016 includes swimmers Delaney Brock, Kevin Butz, Victor Chen, Romain Decrop, Kenny Ng, Ryan Prince, Sam Skinner and diver Deon Reid on the men's side, while divers Jaimee Gundry and Kendall McClenney and swimmers Linsay Cooper, Kathryn Eckhart, Alexa Mendes, Kiera Molloy, Meghan Price and Chelsea Ye have joined the women's squad.   

Moore and Grafchik Join Blue Devil Coaching Staff
Colella announced the addition of two assistant coaches to the Blue Devil staff for the 2012-13 campaign. Jesse Moore joined the staff in August after previously spending two seasons at William & Mary, his alma mater, and Ben Grafchik joined the program in September following coaching stops at Northern High School in Durham, Georgetown and the Lakeside Seahawks club team. Grafchik was a four-year letterwinner specializing in the backstroke and individual medley events at North Carolina.

Home Opener Slated for Oct. 27 in Taishoff
The Blue Devils will open the home portion of the 2012-13 season on Saturday, Oct. 27 in Taishoff Aquatic Pavilion. The teams will host ACC opponents Virginia Tech and Florida State, as well as UNC Wilmington, beginning at 2 p.m.

-d-u-k-e-


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