GREENSBORO, N.C. – Senior Leah Goldman brought home an ACC title in the 200-yard individual medley on a historic night for the Blue Devils at the 2018 ACC Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships.
Goldman garnered the third podium finish of her career after previously earning All-ACC honors in the 100 butterfly. Behind her performance, Duke wrapped up the second day of competition in Greensboro sixth in the team standings with a total of 274.5 points.
The Blue Devils featured three swimmers in the 200 individual medley finals, highlighted by Goldman in the event championship final. Making her second career appearance in the 200 individual medley ‘A’ final, the senior captain brought the outside smoke from lane one to secure her first individual conference title. Goldman’s time of 1:55.67 shattered her previous school record of 1:57.33.
“I knew, no matter what, it could be anyone’s race,” Goldman said. “Being outside smoke is fun. People don’t expect it. I just had to swim my own race and bring it home as hard as I could … It’s all for the team, to get us as many points as possible and get us up on the board. Watching the Olympics the past few days, it’s always so inspiring what all those athletes do. You want to be one of them. Anything you can do for the team and to represent Duke, it’s really just a great opportunity.”
The Burlingame, Calif., native became the second 200 individual medley ACC champion in program history, joining Katie Ness (2004). Goldman was also Duke’s first individual ACC swimming champion on the women’s side since Ashley Twichell won the 1,650 freestyle in 2011.
“I know after last year, being in the 200 IM ‘B’ final, Leah wanted to be back in that ‘A’ final here at ACCs,” said head coach Dan Colella. “She had a great swim this morning but she is a great nighttime swimmer so we knew she was going faster tonight. Leah just took it out and didn’t look back. Outside smoke – it’s always exciting for the crowd when someone from lane one or eight wins an event like that. She put on a show tonight and we’re incredibly proud of her.”
The Blue Devils received additional points in the 200 individual medley Thursday evening on the strength of an 11th-place finish by senior Lizzie Devitt and a 22nd-place showing by sophomore Kylie Jordan (2:01.04). Devitt’s finals clocking of 1:58.30 was good for the second-fastest in school history.
Senior Verity Abel collected a career-best finish in the 500-yard freestyle, earning a spot in the championship final after clocking the field’s eighth-fastest time in preliminaries (4:43.98). She was sixth overall during the evening session, recording the second-fastest mark in school history at 4:43.08.
The preliminaries of the 500 freestyle also saw senior Isabella Paez break into the program’s all-time top 10 with a career-best mark of 4:51.95.
Two Blue Devils advanced to finals in the 50 freestyle, with junior Maddie Hess taking 11th (22.45) and sophomore Alyssa Marsh tying for 20th (22.60). Marsh, Goldman, junior Hunter Aitchison and Jordan returned to the water at the end of the evening to take ninth in the 200 freestyle relay. The group’s mark of 1:30.45 ranked eighth on the program’s all-time performance list.
“This is probably one of the best first full days of events for us in quite some time,” Colella said. “We are excited to be able to start this way and to build on it each day. The seniors really stepped up tonight. Verity Abel in that 500 freestyle – lifetime best, move up a couple of spots. Lizzie Devitt just was on fire today, dropping a couple of seconds off her lifetime best time. The seniors really set the example tonight and just looking forward to everyone following in their footsteps tomorrow and the day after.”
On the men’s side, junior Evan Moretti advanced to a springboard diving final for the second time in as many days at the ACC Championships, finishing second in the one-meter preliminaries. After dipping as low as fifth in the event final, Moretti responded with 204.40 points on his final three dives – including an inward 2.5 somersault in the fifth round that netted an award of 77.50. The two-time NCAA qualifier closed out the night in fourth place (366.40).
Friday’s action in Greensboro gets underway at 10 a.m. with preliminaries of the 100 butterfly, 400 individual medley, 200 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 100 backstroke and women’s three-meter diving. Finals begin at 6 p.m. on ACC Network Extra and will also include the 400 medley relay. Live results will be available here.
1) Virginia 442.5 2) Louisville 414.5 3) NC State 373 4) North Carolina 331 5) Notre Dame 283 6) Duke 274.5 7) Virginia Tech 235 8) Pitt 191 9) Florida State 186.5 10) Miami 143 11) Georgia Tech 134 12) Boston College 60
Top Duke Finishers by Event:
Women’s 500-Yard Freestyle: Verity Abel (6th), 4:43.08
Women’s 200-Yard Individual Medley: Leah Goldman (1st), 1:55.67
Women’s 50-Yard Freestyle: Maddie Hess (11th), 22.45
Men’s One-Meter Diving: Evan Moretti (4th), 366.40