ATLANTA – After making program history by extending their unbeaten streaks into January, the Duke men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams ran into a tough test Saturday in Atlanta.
Facing ranked men’s and women’s teams from Indiana and Michigan as well as host Georgia Tech, the Blue Devil women came away with the lone win on the day, topping the Yellow Jacket women by a 198-101 margin. The Duke women (7-2) improved to 3-0 in ACC action with the victory while the 22nd-ranked men dropped to 6-3 (2-1 ACC) following the quad meet.
“We just had a good week of training, but truthfully we were not firing on all cylinders for whatever reason today,” said head coach Dan Colella. “But I was proud of the fact that they stood up and raced as hard as they did. They raced and wanted to compete. They energy was high throughout the whole meet, but I think they were fatigued physically.”
The men’s 200-yard medley relay of junior Kaz Takabayashi, junior Peter Kropp, senior David Armstrong and junior James Peek gave Duke a strong start with a second-place finish among the field (1:27.96).
Several underclassmen shined for the Blue Devil diving corps, as Evan Moretti won the men’s 1-meter competition (313.40) and Mackenzie Willborn was victorious on the 3-meter board (292.30). Moretti came back to take third on the 3-meter board (296.80), followed by fellow freshman Josh Owsiany in fourth. Sophomore MaryEllen Targonski was Duke’s top finisher in the women’s 1-meter competition, placing second with an award of 264.30.
"It was really exciting to see the two freshmen win," said head diving coach Nunzio Esposto. Mackenzie had a really good list and that was great to see. She dove very well. Evan was a good surprise on 1-meter. I knew that he could dive well like he did, but he put together a good list on 1-meter. It was more men than a usual dual meet so it was good to see him compete like that."
The divers were also in action Friday in a platform competition at Georgia Tech. Owsiany led the men in third (286.85) and Targonski was fourth for the women (232.05).
The women placed three swimmers in the top five of the 200 butterfly, led by sophomore Leah Goldman in second. Goldman’s mark of 1:59.84 ranked her fifth on the program’s all-time performance list, while junior Colleen Wixted and sophomore Isabella Paez turned in times of 2:00.61 and 2:00.67 to take fourth and fifth in the event, respectively. Goldman returned to the water later to win the 100 butterfly (54.07) while Paez was third and Wixted fifth.
The Blue Devils had similar success in the women’s 100 backstroke as freshmen Maddie Hess (54.97) and Mickayla Hinkle (55.80) were second and fourth overall. Junior Ashleigh Shanley earned fourth-place finishes in both breaststroke events and sophomore Verity Abel paced the distance group, taking third in the 1,000 freestyle (10:03.92) and sixth at the 500-yard distance (4:57.26).
Sophomore Lizzie Devitt came in second in the 200 IM, registering a time of 2:01.73 that put her fifth on Duke’s all-time chart. Goldman was fourth in the same event and junior Maddie Rusch took second in the 50 freestyle (23.21).
“[Lizzie] had a great 200 free earlier in the meet, and it was great to see her turn around and swim that 200 IM,” Colella said. “We’re very proud of that performance.”
Takabayashi was the Blue Devils’ top finisher in two individual events, coming in third in the 100 backstroke (49.00) and seventh in the 100 butterfly (49.27). Kropp added a second-place showing in the 100 breaststroke (54.71) and Peek took third in the 50 freestyle (20.09).
The Blue Devils return home to host North Carolina on Senior Day in Taishoff Aquatic Pavilion Jan. 30 beginning at 11 a.m.
Duke Women 198, Georgia Tech Women 101
Indiana Women 190, Duke Women 110
Michigan Women 195, Duke Women 105
Michigan Women 174, Indiana Women 126
Michigan Women 228, Georgia Tech Women 72
Indiana Women 227, Georgia Tech Women 73
Georgia Tech Men 165, Duke Men 135
Indiana Men 198, Duke Men 102
Michigan Men 212, Duke Men 86
Michigan Men 176, Indiana Men 118
Michigan Men 212.5, Georgia Tech Men 85.5
Indiana Men 212.5, Georgia Tech Men 87.5
Top Duke Finishers by Event:
Women’s 200-Yard Medley Relay: Jessie Sutherland, Alyssa Arwood, Isa Paez, Chelsea Ye (7th), 1:44.60
Men’s 200-Yard Medley Relay: Kaz Takabayashi, Peter Kropp, David Armstrong, James Peek (2nd), 1:27.96
Women’s 200-Yard Individual Medley: Lizzie Devitt (2nd), 2:01.73
Men’s 200-Yard Individual Medley: Brad Cline (8th), 1:53.67
Women’s 400-Yard Freestyle Relay: Brittany Friese, Isa Paez, Hunter Aitchison, Chelsea Ye (7th), 3:28.79
Men’s 400-Yard Freestyle Relay: Mike Seaberg, Sean Tate, Dylan Payne, Kaz Takabayashi (6th), 3:03.80