DURHAM, N.C. – Following a strong outing at the season-opening All-North Carolina Invitational Oct. 5 in Greensboro, the Duke swimming and diving teams return to competition Saturday, Oct. 26 in a dual meet at UNC Wilmington. The action will get underway at 2 p.m. at the Seahawk Natatorium.
Fast Swims Pace Duke in Season Opener
Blue Devil swimmers tallied five individual first-place finishes, captured one relay title and set six meet records at the All-North Carolina Invitational. The women opened the meet on a high note, as sophomore Chelsea Ye, senior Christine Wixted, freshman Maddie Rusch and senior Lauren Weaver won the 200-yard medley relay in 1:43.74.
Individually, Rusch collected first-place finishes in the 100 freestyle and 100 butterfly while Christine Wixted swept the breaststroke events. On the men’s side, senior Hunter Knight touched at 56.05 to win the 100 breaststroke and break his own meet record in the event.
Duke participated in just the second day of the two-day meet, totaling 737 points on the women’s side and 677.5 points in the men’s competition to earn a pair of fifth-place finishes in the final team standings.
Knight Garners ACC Male Swimmer of the Week Honors
Senior Hunter Knight earned ACC Male Swimmer of the Week accolades for the first time in his career for his performance at the season-opening All-North Carolina Invitational. The Richmond, Va., native broke his own meet record on his way to winning the 100 breaststroke with a time of 56.05 and finished second at the 200-yard distance (2:02.64). Knight also swam the second leg of the Blue Devils’ 200 medley relay, which placed third with a mark of 1:32.33.
Duke in the National Landscape
Senior Christine Wixted currently ranks sixth in the ACC and 34th in the country with her 100 breaststroke time of 1:04.03 at the All-North Carolina Invitational. Fellow senior Hunter Knight is among the top 20 male swimmers nationally in the 100 (56.05) and the 200 breaststroke (2:02.64), while rookie Maddie Rusch’s season-opening times in the 100 freestyle (51.40) and 100 butterfly (56.08) are good for top-10 in the ACC.
Freshman Have Immediate Impact
The Blue Devils’ freshman class of 24 student-athletes has already had an impact on the men’s and women’s programs. Maddie Rusch captured two individual wins and was a member of the winning 200 medley relay at the season-opening All-North Carolina Invitational. Fellow rookie Brittany Friese took second in the 200 freestyle while Lindsay Schlichte was fifth in the 1,650 freestyle. On the men’s side, Kaz Takabayashi touched second in the 100 butterfly and fourth in the 200 butterfly, and Peter Kropp finished fifth in the 100 breaststroke. A number of freshmen also competed on Duke’s relay teams, starting off the season in strong fashion.
Scouting the Competition
The UNC Wilmington men are 2-1 on the season and the women 2-2 coming off of a pair of wins against Division III opponent Emory last weekend in Wilmington. Sophomore Jenson Engen currently ranks 25th nationally in the women’s 100 breaststroke (1:03.95) and 40th in the 200 breaststroke (2:19.02) while leading the CAA in both events. Freshman Ross Wyand paces the Seahawk men, ranking 34th in the country in the mile (16:26.07) while teammate Andrew Cremer is 49th in the same event.
“We’re definitely ready to get underway with some dual meet competition,” said head coach Dan Colella. “We swam in Greensboro a few weeks ago and I was pleased with the performances there. I think we learned some valuable lessons, things that we need to continue to work on and things that they’ve been attentive to working on. In dual meet competitions there’s always a lot of excitement and a lot of pride on the line. I know the freshmen and the underclassmen are excited about getting this season underway.”