WILMINGTON, N.C. – The Duke swimming and diving teams opened the dual meet portion of their season with a pair of victories over in-state opponent UNC Wilmington Saturday at Seahawk Natatorium. The Blue Devil women collected a 195.5-101.5 win against the Seahawks while the Blue Devil men also won by a score of 156.5-143.5.
Duke swimmers and divers combined for 18 individual and three relay wins in Wilmington, as the men’s and women’s teams each started the year with records of 1-0, respectively.
“We knew going in that through all these events, we were going to have a real challenge on our hands with the Seahawks,” said head coach Dan Colella. “There were a couple of swims that went the Seahawks’ way and could have very easily taken the air out of our sails but we did an absolutely terrific job, particularly the freshmen – for their first dual meet – to bounce back the way they did. Just some really great performances across the board.”
The Blue Devils kicked off the meet with a strong statement in the 200-yard medley relay events. The team of sophomore Chelsea Ye, senior Christine Wixted, freshman Maddie Rusch and senior Lauren Weaver set a pool record en route to winning the women’s race in 1:43.37 while freshman Joey Maginnis, senior Hunter Knight and freshmen Dylan Payne and James Peek posted a mark of 1:32.68 to take first on the men’s side. Rusch, freshman Brittany Friese, Ye and Weaver also claimed first in the 400 freestyle relay (3:30.44) to conclude the competition.
Individually, Duke’s lineup included six double-winners on the day, led by Hunter Knight’s sweep of the men’s 100 (56.02) and 200 (2:05.49) breaststroke events. Freshman Bradley Cline dropped time from his performance at the season-opening All-North Carolina Invitational in a first-place showing in the 200 freestyle (1:42.50) and won the 500 freestyle in 4:40.90. In his first collegiate competition since claiming his third NCAA title in platform diving last spring, senior diver Nick McCrory broke his own pool records on the 1 and 3-meter boards while surpassing the NCAA zone diving standards in both events.
After registering two individual wins in her collegiate debut at the All-North Carolina Invitational earlier this month, Rusch paced the Blue Devil women Saturday with first-place finishes in the 100 (51.91) and the 200 (1:54.98) freestyle. Fellow rookie Friese touched first in the 200 butterfly (2:04.88) and the 500 freestyle (5:03.92) while Christine Wixted was just off her own pool record in the 100 breaststroke with a 1:03.18 clocking and returned to the pool later to win the 200 IM at 2:06.15.
In the women’s diving events, sophomore Kendall McClenney earned an NCAA Zone Diving qualifying mark of 274.20 en route to winning the 1-meter competition, while freshman Kirby Quinn surpassed the Zones standard on the 3-meter board with a score of 280.87 to also come in first.
“It was great to have the divers perform the way they did today,” Colella said. “The men dominated, going one, two, three on the 1 and 3-meter and for Kirby and Kendall to come in and one, two on both boards were really big contributions to the overall win.”
Other winners on the day included freshman Lindsay Schlichte in the 1,000 freestyle (10:30.88), sophomore Kenny Ng in the 200 butterfly (1:52.94), Weaver in the 50 freestyle (23.89) and Linsay Cooper in the 100 butterfly (57.33).
Following Saturday’s competition against the Seahawks, the Blue Devils return to action Friday, Nov. 8 in a 2 p.m. dual meet at NC State.