Four Blue Devil divers qualified for finals events on the second day of competition at the Nike Cup Invitational, with Long winning the men's 3-meter competition for the second time this season. Long surpassed the NCAA Zone Diving Championships standard in the event, receiving a season-best score of 393.35 on his list of six dives.
"It was a great day for Jordan from start to finish," said head diving coach Drew Johansen. "He's been hovering with that number all year in the first two dual meets that we've had and he's showing that's the type of diver that he is. It's still mid-November, but he's in a great place right now."
Freshman Deon Reid and sophomore Clay Pinckney also registered Zones qualifying marks in the men's 3-meter finals, placing fourth and fifth, respectively, while improving upon their scores in the morning's preliminary round. On the women's side, freshman Kendall McClenney earned the first Zone Championships qualifying mark of her career, scoring 268.60 points in a fourth-place performance on the 1-meter springboard.
Friday's evening session in Knoxville kicked off with a pair of third-place finishes for Duke in the 200-yard medley relay events. Freshman Chelsea Ye, junior Christine Wixted, junior Lauren Weaver and freshman Kathryn Eckhart combined for a season-best time of 1:42.66, while senior Ty Stahl, junior Hunter Knight, freshman Sam Skinner and senior Adam Flur clocked 1:31.03 for another season-best mark on the men's side.
Continuing what has been a solid start to her Duke career, freshman Kiera Molloy placed second in the championship final of the women's 400 individual medley. Molloy notched a time of 4:21.55 to shave over four seconds off of her preliminaries performance and come within half a second of the program record in the event, while sophomore Ali Horn took fifth overall at 4:27.54 and classmate Katherine Plevka touched at 4:30.14 to come in seventh. Two Blue Devils posted season-best performances in the 'A' final of the same event on the men's side, as junior Tyler Fleming swam 4:04.48 to place fifth and senior Alex Harmon took seventh at 4:05.88.
Weaver was the next Duke swimmer to register a season-best performance, swimming 55.88 in the women's 'A' final of the 100 butterfly to take fifth overall. Horn also competed in the championship final, clocking 56.83 to come in eighth after surpassing her previous personal best in the event with a 56.63 mark in the preliminaries. In the men's 100 butterfly, Stefan Knight established a new personal best at 51.03 in the morning session and came back to finish eighth in the 'A' final with a time of 51.17.
The men placed three swimmers in the 'A' final of the 200 freestyle, led by Skinner in fifth place at 1:41.64. Sophomore Michael Donnalley followed in sixth with a time of 1:41.75 and senior Matt Carder tapped the wall at 1:42.17 to finish seventh. Junior Kelly Hagerty paced the women with a seventh-place showing in the championship final, recording a season-best mark of 1:53.72.
Wixted picked up her second NCAA provisional qualifying standard of the season in the 100 breaststroke 'A' final, coming in at 1:01.02 for a second-place finish. Plevka returned to the pool for her third event of the session, taking seventh with a time of 1:06.11. The Duke men also had a strong showing in the 100 breaststroke, highlighted by Hunter Knight's personal-best swim of 54.86. Knight placed second in the field, while senior Jim Zuponeck was third at 55.79 and Fleming sixth at 57.48. The final individual event of the evening saw Stahl turn in a seventh-place finish (51.46) and sophomore Tyler Toren place eighth (52.90) in the men's 100 backstroke.
The Blue Devils then closed out the night with the men's and women's 800 freestyle relays. The men's team of Donnalley, freshman Kevin Butz, Skinner and Carder took third behind Kentucky and Tennessee with a mark of 6:52.24, while Ye, Molloy, Hagerty and junior Eneka Lamb finished fifth at 7:38.50.
After two full days of competition, the Duke men sit in third place behind Tennessee (801) and Kentucky (684) with a team score of 486, while the women fell to fourth with a total of 407.5 points.
"We had another great day that started out with some really great performances in the morning," said head coach Dan Colella. "We are extremely pleased with the performances we had for the second day and are now just looking forward to finishing it up on a high note tomorrow."
The Tennessee Invitational reaches its conclusion Saturday with the preliminaries and finals of the 200 backstroke, 100 freestyle, 200 breaststroke, 200 butterfly and the 1,650 freestyle, as well as the 400 freestyle relay. Preliminaries begin at 10 a.m., followed by finals Friday evening at 6 p.m. Live results (http://bit.ly/W6EgCk) and a live video stream (http://bit.ly/Zvbyv1) will be available for both sessions.
The Nike Cup Invitational will also wrap up Saturday with the preliminaries and finals of the men's 1-meter and women's 3-meter springboard diving events. The preliminaries of the men's 1-meter competition will get underway at 11 a.m. at North Carolina's Koury Natatorium, followed by the women's 3-meter preliminaries at 1 p.m. Diving finals events are slated for 7:15 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. Saturday evening. Live results will be available at http://bit.ly/SyZz9K.
Fans can also follow the Blue Devils on Twitter (@Duke_SWIM_DIVE) for updates on both meets.