GREENSBORO, N.C. – Blue Devil swimmers continued to rewrite the program’s all-time performance list Thursday on the second day of competition at the 2018 ACC Championships.
“We started off the morning with a number of personal-best swims,” said head coach Dan Colella. “We had 11 of our 15 go lifetime bests, so it was a solid morning session. The swims that we had tonight were great. Miles Williams winning that 50 freestyle ‘C’ final and then having a monster split on the 200 free relay – going 19.04 – that was fantastic. Judd Howard dropped close to two seconds off his lifetime best in the 200 IM. Just a great way to get things started here on the first full day. The next two days are definitely ones with a lot more opportunities so we’re looking forward to it.”
Duke saw a school record fall for the second straight day, as junior Yusuke Legard, sophomore Miles Williams, junior Max St. George and senior Nick Bigot took down the previous 200 freestyle relay mark set in 2011 with a time of 1:18.46 Thursday evening. That showing tied the group for sixth in the conference.
“Breaking a school record that was up there for seven years was a fun way to finish up the evening,” Colella said. “The guys are definitely excited about tomorrow morning and doing some great things.”
Junior Judd Howard turned in a pair of career-best performances in the 200 individual medley, reaching the event finals for the first time in his career. Howard secured a spot in the consolation final with a 1:45.47 swim in preliminaries and finished with a strong back half Thursday evening to drop additional time, tapping the wall at 1:45.37 for fifth in the heat and 13th overall. With his showing in finals, Howard moved up to second on the Blue Devils’ all-time top 10.
After breaking the school record in the 200 freestyle as a member of Duke’s 800 freestyle relay Wednesday evening, Williams continued to impress on day two. He came in under the 20.00 mark for the first time in his career during the 50 freestyle preliminaries before lowering that time with a 19.70 clocking to win the bonus final. The performance moved Williams up to third all-time in program history.
Legard joined Williams in the 50 freestyle ‘C’ final, taking third in the heat and 19th overall at 19.84.
The preliminaries of the 500 freestyle saw Blue Devil swimmers notch a number of career-best times. Senior Matt Johnson led the way at 4:23.69, placing him 26th overall and second on Duke’s all-time performance list. Junior Riley Hickman was right behind Johnson in 27th with a 4:24.65 clocking, good for the third-fastest mark in school history. Freshman Spencer LaFata also raced to a top-30 showing in his ACC Championships debut, cracking the all-time top 10 with a 4:26.19 showing. Fellow freshman Zach Washart rounded out the quartet of Blue Devils in the event, touching at 4:29.34 before lowering his season best with a time of 4:28.62 in an evening time trial.
Duke also picked up 74 points from the men’s one-meter springboard diving event, held last week in Greensboro. Junior Evan Moretti advanced to the championship final where he finished fourth overall with an award of 366.40 points. Freshman Teddy Zeng was 10th in preliminaries (324.40), followed by junior Josh Owsiany in 11th (303.05) and sophomore Nathaniel Hernandez in 12th (294.60).
Heading into the third day of action, the Blue Devils sit sixth in the team standings with 297 points.
Friday’s preliminaries begin at 10 a.m. in Greensboro, with finals slated for 6 p.m. on ACC Network Extra. Events on tap include the 100 butterfly, 400 individual medley, 200 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 100 backstroke and the 400 medley relay. Live results will be available here and on the Meet Mobile app.
1) NC State 523 2) Louisville 417 3) Florida State 401.5 4) Notre Dame 377.5 5) Virginia Tech 346.5 6) Duke 297 7) Virginia 283.5 8) North Carolina 269 9) Pitt 153 10) Georgia Tech 138 11) Boston College 66 12) Miami 34
Top Duke Finishers by Event:
Men’s 500-Yard Freestyle: Matt Johnson (26th), 4:23.69
Men’s 200-Yard Individual Medley: Judd Howard (13th), 1:45.37
Men’s 50-Yard Freestyle: Miles Williams (17th), 19.70
Men’s One-Meter Diving: Evan Moretti (4th), 366.40