ATLANTA – Senior Peter Kropp captured the first All-ACC accolades of his career Wednesday, leading a quartet of Blue Devils in the 100-yard breaststroke finals at the 2017 ACC Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships. Duke advanced nine swimmers to individual event finals, powering the squad to a strong third day of competition in Atlanta.
The Blue Devils took down program records in three events Wednesday and enter the final day of the conference championship in eighth place overall with 442 points.
“This is what we were hoping for – for them to come in and perform the way they did this morning,” said head coach Dan Colella. “Yesterday wasn’t really characteristic of what they were capable of. They came in charged and ready to go, and came away with three school records and an ACC record. A very exciting evening of swimming. We’re very proud of the way they raced all day and we’re really looking forward to carrying that same intensity and that same enthusiasm into tomorrow’s events.”
Kropp continued the program’s legacy in the 100 breaststroke, joining Hunter Knight and Piotr Safronczyk as Blue Devils to earn a podium finish in the event over the past six seasons. In a tight race with Virginia Tech’s Brandon Fiala, Kropp was second to the wall at 51.88 for his highest individual finish at an ACC meet. He also turned in a solid performance in preliminaries, breaking the ACC meet and conference records with a swift 51.46 clocking. That time represents the fourth-fastest in the country to date and was also under the NCAA automatic standard in the event, securing Kropp a trip to Indianapolis for the NCAA Championships.
Senior Dylan Payne joined Kropp in the championship final, taking sixth in the field (52.82) for the highest finish of his career in the 100 breaststroke. He also recorded a best time during the morning session, as his 52.69 preliminaries mark ranked him second all-time at Duke behind only Kropp.
Sophomore Judd Howard advanced to the 100 breaststroke consolation final for the second-straight year, coming in 12th overall at 53.62. He joined Kropp and Payne in rewriting the all-time top 10 in the event during preliminaries, touching at 53.58 for sixth on the all-time list. Senior Michael Seaberg represented the Blue Devils in the 100 breaststroke bonus final, finishing 24th overall at 55.83.
“The 100 breast has been a deep event for us the last couple years,” Colella said. “To have four of them in the evening finals, we’ve got some young folks that have some big shoes to fill next year, but we feel good about that. We’re really proud of what they accomplished today.”
Duke placed two swimmers in the 100 butterfly consolation final, led by senior Michael Miller, who took second in the heat and 10th overall. Miller was to the wall in 46.91 Wednesday evening to notch the second-fastest mark in school history. Senior Joey Maginnis came in seventh in the ‘B’ final (47.52) after eclipsing his best time in the event during preliminaries with a 47.38 swim. That put the Flourtown, Pa., native third on the all-time top 10 behind only Miller and program record-holder Ben Tuben.
Sophomore Sean Tate paced the Blue Devils in the 200 freestyle, advancing to the event finals for the second-straight year. He moved up to second on the program’s all-time top 10 with a 1:36.65 showing in preliminaries, and went 1:36.75 during the evening session for fourth in the bonus final and 20th overall. Duke saw another best time in the 200 freestyle preliminaries, as freshman Miles Williams stopped the clock at 1:37.92 to rank 10th on the all-time performance list. In addition, both Tate and Williams were under the NCAA provisional standard for the first time this season.
The Blue Devils were also well represented in the 100 backstroke, with sophomore Max St. George and senior Kaz Takabayashi earning spots in the consolation final. The duo combined to break the program record in the event three times Wednesday, with Takabayashi lowering his own benchmark in the third heat of preliminaries at 47.22. St. George followed with a 46.85 effort in heat four, and went on to drop additional time in finals, going 46.77 to win the ‘B’ final. Takabayashi was right behind him Wednesday night, taking second in the heat and 10th overall at 47.06.
Two other Blue Devils – freshman Chris Murphy (48.72) and Maginnis (48.86) added best times in the 100 backstroke preliminaries, ranking them sixth and seventh, respectively, on Duke’s all-time top 10 list. In the 400 individual medley preliminaries, freshman Roger Kriegl continued to impress with a career-best time of 3:54.29. That performance ranked him fourth on the Blue Devils’ all-time performance list.
The final event of the evening saw the Blue Devils take down a third program record, as St. George, Kropp, Miller and Tate finished the 400 medley relay in 3:08.92 to surpass the previous mark of 3:09.20. The group finished seventh in the field.
The 2017 ACC Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships reach their conclusion Thursday with the 200 backstroke, 100 freestyle, 200 breaststroke, 200 butterfly, 1,650 freestyle and the 400 freestyle relay. Finals will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra beginning at 6 p.m. with live results also available.
Team Scores: 1) NC State 878.5 2) Louisville 795.5 3) Virginia Tech 690 4) Notre Dame 637 5) Florida State 590 6) Virginia 489 7) North Carolina 478 8) Duke 442 9) Pitt 401 10) Georgia Tech 380 11) Boston College 130 12) Miami 108
Top Duke Finishers by Event:
400-Yard Individual Medley: Roger Kriegl (31st), 3:54.29
100-Yard Butterfly: Michael Miller (10th), 46.91
200-Yard Freestyle: Sean Tate (20th), 1:36.75
100-Yard Breaststroke: Peter Kropp (2nd), 51.88
100-Yard Backstroke: Max St. George (9th), 46.77
400-Yard Medley Relay: Max St. George, Peter Kropp, Michael Miller, Sean Tate (7th), 3:08.92