DURHAM, N.C. – In its first home meet of the 2018-19 season, the Duke swimming and diving teams matched up with a pair of nationally-ranked NC State squads. The Blue Devil men and women hung tough throughout the ACC dual meet but fell to the Wolfpack.
Among the individual highlights were a pair of victories by senior Judd Howard and junior Kylie Jordan in the men’s 100-yard breaststroke and women’s 100-yard butterfly, respectively. Duke’s divers were dominant in sweeping the top two spots in all four events on the afternoon.
“When presented the opportunity to swim a team that’s ranked as high as NC State and as talented and well-coached as an NC State team, in order for us to continue to grow and get better, we’ve got to embrace those kinds of challenges, said head coach Dan Colella. “That was something the team did a really great job of today. There was a lot of great racing going on. A lot of folks improved upon what they did last weekend against Virginia Tech … Everybody swam hard from start to finish, right down to the men’s 400 free relay, which was incredibly close. A lot of great early-season racing and just showing some real tenacity.”
Duke’s divers opened the morning with a strong showing on the one-meter board, as senior Evan Moretti turned in a career-best award of 387.38 for first. Junior Nathaniel Hernandez came in second while freshman Maddi Pullinger and senior Lizzie Fitzpatrick swept the top two spots in the women’s event.
Following an impressive collegiate debut in the season opener at Virginia Tech, Blue Devil rookie Melissa Pish shaved time off of her performance last weekend in the women’s 1,000-yard freestyle, clocking 10:00.22 for second Saturday. Fellow freshman Lucy Callard moved onto the program’s all-time top 10 list (10:13.38) in a fourth-place finish. Later in the meet, Pish took second in the 500 freestyle, powering to the finish in 4:51.96.
The women’s 200 freestyle featured a thrilling race between NC State’s Julia Poole and Duke’s Easop Lee. Lee was second to the wall in 1:49.15, good for the eighth-fastest mark in school history. Senior Yusuke Legard was also second in the men’s 200 freestyle before Howard out-touched the Wolfpack’s Giovanni Izzo for a win in the men’s 100 breaststroke.
Junior Alyssa Marsh paced the Blue Devil sprinters with a pair of second-place showings in the women’s 50 and 100 freestyle. Her time of 22.66 at the 50-yard distance was good for an NCAA provisional time standard. Jordan added a win for the Duke women in the 100 butterfly.
“It’s always a process and we saw some improvements just in a week’s time, from Virginia Tech to here,” Colella said. “Trusting the things they’re doing in workout – that’s a really big one. For the freshmen in particular, they’ve been getting a lot of new information in the six weeks of training. For them to be able to stay composed and execute these things early on is a great sign for the future. The next couple of meets here in Princeton and then Tennessee, we’re looking forward to some exciting things.”
Senior Mackenzie Willborn claimed the women’s three-meter diving competition, followed by Pullinger in second. Moretti completed his sweep of the men’s diving events, winning again at the three-meter height, while Hernandez took second.
“For the second meet of the season, I’m very excited the divers were able to place one-two in all four events,” said head diving coach Nunzio Esposto. “They had a really, really good day. They competed well and overall, it was a better day than our first dual meet. Headed into this next part of the season, I think they’re in great shape.”
Esposto’s divers will next be in action for the Blue Devils, taking on East Carolina and Richmond in Greenville, N.C., Nov. 3 at 12 p.m.
#11 NC State Women 196, #22 Duke Women 104
#4 NC State Men 198, Duke Men 102
Women’s 200-Yard Medley Relay: Shayna Hollander, Connie Dean, Kylie Jordan, Alyssa Marsh (3rd), 1:41.11
Men’s 200-Yard Medley Relay: Max St. George, Judd Howard, Miles Williams, Yusuke Legard (2nd), 1:28.40
Women’s 200-Yard Freestyle Relay: Kylie Jordan, Quinn Scannell, Hunter Aitchison, Melissa Pish (2nd), 1:34.01
Men’s 200-Yard Freestyle Relay: Yusuke Legard, Max St. George, Sean Tate, Miles Williams (2nd), 1:20.63