GREENSBORO, N.C. – A strong opening day of competition at the 2018 ACC Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships put the Blue Devils in third place through three events. Duke saw three divers advance to event finals and featured impressive relay performances on the first day of action at the Greensboro Aquatic Center.
Heading into Thursday’s events, the Blue Devil women sit third in the team standings behind North Carolina (151) and Virginia (143) with a total of 139 points.
Junior Mackenzie Willborn kicked off the morning by securing a spot in the one-meter springboard diving finals. An NCAA qualifier in 2017, Willborn was seventh overall in preliminaries (262.20) before going on to take sixth in the event final. She opened her finals list with an award of 50.70 on a forward 2.5 somersault and rounded out the day with a total of 282.70 points to surpass the NCAA Zones qualification standard in the event.
Duke also received points from junior Lizzie Fitzpatrick (251.15), senior MaryEllen Targonski (244.80) and sophomore Jaina Gaudette (235.25), who were 13th, 16th and 21st, respectively, in the one-meter preliminaries.
The 200-yard medley relay of junior Maddie Hess, junior Susan Hynes, sophomore Alyssa Marsh and senior Leah Goldman then clocked the second-fastest mark in program history at 1:37.31, good for seventh overall. That time also gave the group an NCAA ‘B’ cut in the event. That time ranked the group second in program history, while Abel’s leadoff 200 freestyle split of 1:47.13 lowered her career best at that distance.
Men’s diving also got underway Wednesday in Greensboro, with two Blue Devils earning spots in the three-meter springboard final. A year after reaching the one and three-meter finals in his first ACC Championships appearance, sophomore Nathaniel Hernandez was back in the top eight again. The Southlake, Texas native came in sixth (344.90), up two spots from last spring, while junior Evan Moretti was right behind him in seventh (341.85). Moretti’s preliminaries score of 400.40 moved him up to fourth all-time at Duke.
Freshman Teddy Zeng placed 13th in preliminaries (315.05) in his first ACC Championships event, helping the Blue Devil men finish the day with 61 points to tie for first.
The second relay event of the evening also saw the Blue Devils crack the all-time top 10 performance list, as the quartet of senior Verity Abel, sophomore Kylie Jordan, senior Isabella Paez and Hess took ninth in the 800 freestyle relay at 7:09.58.
1) North Carolina 151 2) Virginia 143 3) Duke 139 4) Louisville 138 5) Notre Dame 135 5) NC State 135 7) Virginia Tech 133 8) Florida State 131 9) Miami 109 10) Pittsburgh 101 11) Georgia Tech 87 12) Boston College 60
1) Florida State 61 1) Duke 61 1) North Carolina 61 4) Virginia Tech 44 5) Notre Dame 38 5) NC State 38 7) Miami 22 8) Georgia Tech 17 9) Virginia 13 10) Louisville 7
Women’s One-Meter Diving: Mackenzie Willborn (6th), 282.70
Men’s Three-Meter Diving: Nathaniel Hernandez (6th), 344.90