DURHAM, N.C. - The Duke swimming & diving teams return to action Saturday when they welcome Atlantic Coast Conference opponents Florida State and Virginia Tech as well as UNC Wilmington to Taishoff Aquatic Pavilion for their home opener. The meet will get underway at 12:45 p.m. beginning with the men's 1-meter and women's 3-meter diving events, followed by the remaining swimming and diving events at 2 p.m.
Fans planning on attending Saturday's meet should be advised that a parking alert will be in effect due to a number of athletic events taking place on campus. More information about parking is available at http://bit.ly/PVaKxH.
Live Results for Saturday's Meet
Live results of swimming and diving events for Saturday's meet will be available here: http://www.sportstiming.com/Clubs/NCAA-Duke/. Fans can also follow the Blue Devils on Twitter (@Duke_SWIM_DIVE) for updates throughout the season.
Strong Showing in Season Opener
The Blue Devils kicked off the 2012-13 campaign Oct. 5 and 6 at the All-North Carolina Invitational held at the Greensboro Aquatic Center - the site of the 2013 ACC Championships. Over two days of competition which featured 13 teams from across the state, the Duke men earned a second-place finish and the women took third on the strength of impressive swims by veteran and rookie swimmers.
Individually, junior Christine Wixted paced the women's team, winning the 100-yard breaststroke, 200 breaststroke and the 500 freestyle events while senior Ben Hwang posted wins in both sprint freestyle events on the men's side. Both Wixted and Hwang received ACC Male and Female Swimmer of the Week accolades for their performances.
Duke also opened the year with success in multiple relay events, collecting first-place finishes in the men's 200 freestyle relay and 200 medley relay as well as the women's 200 freestyle relay.
Duke in the National Landscape
The College Swimming Coaches Association of America released its first Division I men's team rankings of the season this week, with the Blue Devil men receiving votes in the poll.
Members of the men's and women's teams have also turned in some of the nation's top times so far this season, according to CollegeSwimming.com. Hwang's time of 20.03 in the 50 freestyle is currently tied for the best time in the nation so far this season (Mark Weber of Florida State also recorded the same time). Hwang is also ranked 18th in the country with a 45.09 clocking over the 100-yard distance.
Senior Alex Harmon posted a time of 16:32.28 in the 1,650 freestyle at the All-North Carolina Invitational for the 41st-best time in the nation, while junior Hunter Knight (56.92), Hwang (57.04) and senior Jim Zuponeck (57.09) are listed at 37th, 40th and 43rd, respectively.
The men's 200 freestyle relay of freshman Romain Decrop, senior Adam Flur, freshman Sam Skinner and Hwang is ranked sixth in the nation heading into the weekend with a 1:21.96 clocking in the season opener. Meanwhile, senior Ted Minturn, Zuponeck, Skinner and Hwang combined for a time of 3:23.86 in the 400 medley relay for the nation's 10th-best clocking so far.
On the women's side, Wixted is currently ranked 36th nationally in the 500 freestyle (4:57.86) and junior Lauren Weaver 46th in the 50 freestyle (23.61). The Blue Devils' 400 freestyle and 200 medley relays are also ranked in the top 50 heading into the weekend.
Scouting the Competition
The Florida State men are ranked 15th in the nation and are 1-0 with a win over Florida Atlantic entering this weekend's action, while the Seminole women own a record of 4-0 overall and 1-0 in the ACC with victories against Florida Gulf Coast, Miami and Florida Atlantic and FIU. Paul Murray recorded the conference's top time in the 100 freestyle at 45.01 and is tied with Hwang for the best time so far in the 50 freestyle (20.03). Meanwhile, the Seminoles' Derek Pridemore leads the ACC's male distance swimmers with the conference's best marks in the 1,000 and 1,650 freestyle events. Diver Ariel Rittenhouse leads the conference in both springboard diving disciplines on the women's side, and Julia Henkel is the only female swimmer in the conference to have broken 17 minutes in the 1,650 freestyle so far during the 2012-13 campaign. Kaitlyn Dressel and Tiffany Oliver lead the league with the best marks to date in the sprint freestyle events. In addition, the Seminole men have posted the ACC's top times this season in the 200, 400 and 800 freestyle relays.
The Seminole women took third and the men fourth at the 2012 ACC Swimming & Diving Championships. Florida State leads the all-time series with the Blue Devils at 5-0.
UNC Wilmington owns ledgers of 2-1 (1-0 Colonial Athletic Association) on the men's side and 0-4 (0-2 CAA) on the women's side heading into Saturday's competition. Both teams suffered losses to Tennessee in their season opener on Sept. 28, but the UNC Wilmington men responded with wins over Old Dominion and Emory.
Both Virginia Tech squads are 2-0 on the year, with the men defeating VMI and Gardner-Webb and the women notching wins over Liberty and Gardner-Webb. The Hokie men lead the ACC with the top time this season in the 400 medley relay (3:22.99) after finishing second at last year's conference championships, while the Virginia Tech women took fourth at the 2012 edition of the championship meet. Duke leads the all-time series with the Hokies, 22-10 (17-6 men, 5-4 women). Virginia Tech will face North Carolina Friday evening in Chapel Hill before traveling to Durham on Saturday.