ATLANTA – Junior Leah Goldman captured All-ACC accolades in the 100-yard butterfly for the second time in her career to highlight the third day of competition at the 2017 ACC Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships. Goldman was one of six Blue Devil swimmers to advance to Wednesday’s 100 butterfly finals, helping the team enter the final day of competition in fifth place with 513.5 points.
Duke swimmers rounded out the day with program records in three events while freshman diver Nathaniel Hernandez represented the men’s team in his second championship final of the meet.
“I don’t think there’s ever been a session in the years that I’ve been here where we’ve had just about everybody back for finals,” said head coach Dan Colella. “Thirteen of the 16 girls made it back tonight in scoring position. That really speaks to where the program is going, especially in this day and age of the ACC because the ACC is just so much more competitive than what it was five years ago.”
At the 2015 ACC Championships, Goldman became just the second female swimmer to garner all-conference honors as a rookie during Colella's tenure at Duke. She was fourth at last year’s meet before sprinting to the wall in second Wednesday night. Goldman touched at 51.62 to shatter her own school record and secure a spot on the 100 butterfly podium for the second time in three years.
Freshman Alyssa Marsh joined Goldman in the 100 butterfly championship final, tying for seventh at 52.54. The Blue Devil rookie also posted the second-fastest mark in program history during preliminaries with a swift 52.43 showing. Another freshman, Kylie Jordan, was sixth in the consolation final (52.92) after moving up to third on Duke’s all-time performance list during the morning session with a time of 52.89. Senior Maddie Rusch also notched a career-best in preliminaries at 53.05 before placing 16th in finals (53.44).
Adding points for the Blue Devils were juniors Isabella Paez (53.47) and Anna Quinn (54.47), who finished second and seventh, respectively, in the 100 butterfly bonus final. As a group, Duke’s six finalists in the event totaled 83.5 points.
“It’s exciting when you have that kind of depth and talent,” Colella said. “We were extremely excited for all those women that were able to come back and final in the 100 butterfly tonight. Leah leading the charge, breaking the school record and finishing second for the silver was a highlight. Also Alyssa Marsh, as a freshman to make the ‘A’ final and Kylie having a lifetime best. And for Anna Quinn to round out the field and score as well – it was just a great event for us and contributed greatly to tonight’s total.”
After turning in a career-best performance in the 400 individual medley preliminaries, junior Verity Abel eclipsed the program record in the event Wednesday evening. The Westport, Conn., native stopped the clock at 4:15.57 for third in the consolation final and 11th overall, moving up seven spots from her showing at last year’s conference championship. Junior Lizzie Devitt earned a spot in the bonus final, lowering her time from the morning session for a 4:18.70 swim and 23rd place overall.
Senior Brittany Friese picked up right where she left off in Tuesday’s 500 freestyle, surpassing her own program record in the 200 freestyle twice Wednesday. She went 1:46.71 in preliminaries before returning to the water with a 1:46.15 clocking for second in the consolation final and 10th overall. That moved Friese up 12 spots from her finish in the same event at the 2016 ACC Championships. Sophomore Hunter Aitchison also reached the 200 freestyle finals, placing 24th in the conference at 1:49.07.
The 100 breaststroke featured senior Ashleigh Shanley, who recorded the two fastest marks of her career Wednesday. Shanley tapped the wall at 1:01.53 in preliminaries and at 1:01.60 in the consolation final for 14th overall.
The program’s divers continued to accumulate points towards the ACC Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships, competing on the three-meter board Wednesday. Hernandez advanced to his second event final of the meet, where he would finish eighth (292.45) as the only freshman in the final. Hernandez topped the 60-point mark twice and closed his list with an inward 2 ½ somersault that netted 57.00 points from the judges.
“Like swimming, the diving in the ACC is some of the best in the country," Colella said. "To be a freshman and to final on both the one and three-meter is an incredible accomplishment. We are thrilled that the divers have been earning a lot of points to go toward the total score. Nathaniel has worked hard all season and it’s always great to see the rewards of your hard work. He is a great individual, a great team player and everybody is really excited for him.”
Sophomores Josh Owsiany and Evan Moretti also collected points for the Duke men with strong performances in the three-meter preliminaries. Owsiany finished just outside the top eight with an award of 337.15 and Moretti totaled 313.70 points to come in 16th.
In the final event of the evening, Hess, Shanley, Goldman and Marsh took ninth in the 400 medley relay with a mark of 3:38.36.
The 2017 ACC Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships conclude Thursday with the 200 backstroke, 100 freestyle, 200 breaststroke, 200 butterfly, men’s and women’s platform diving, the 1,650 freestyle and the 400 freestyle relay. Finals will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra with live results also available.
1) NC State 776.5 2) Virginia 750 3) Louisville 674.5 4) North Carolina 665 5) Duke 513.5 6) Virginia Tech 485 7) Florida State 457.5 8) Notre Dame 428.5 9) Miami 294.5 10) Pittsburgh 294 11) Georgia Tech 256 12) Boston College 122 13) Clemson 73
Top Duke Finishers by Event:
Women’s 400-Yard Individual Medley: Verity Abel (11th), 4:15.57
Women’s 100-Yard Butterfly: Leah Goldman (2nd), 51.62
Women’s 200-Yard Freestyle: Brittany Friese (10th), 1:46.15
Women’s 100-Yard Breaststroke: Ashleigh Shanley (14th), 1:01.60
Women’s 100-Yard Backstroke: Maddie Hess (13th), 53.34
Men’s Three-Meter Diving: Nathaniel Hernandez (8th), 292.45