PRINCETON, N.J. – A strong opening day of competition at the Big Al Invitational saw the Duke women take the lead after two sessions. The Blue Devil men sit in fourth place with one session of swimming and diving events to come Saturday morning at Princeton’s DeNunzio Pool.
The 20th-ranked Duke women were propelled by freshman Cabell Ann Whitlow’s two-win performance individually, as well as impressive showings by the Blue Devil divers. Senior Sean Tate paced the men’s team with a pair of individual victories and both squads combined for four relay wins on the day.
Duke’s Maddie Hess, Melissa Pish, Shayna Hollander and Hunter Aitchison combined to win the women’s 200-yard freestyle relay (1:33.61) in the opening event of the day. The quartet of Sheldon Boboff, Nathaniel Hartley, Matthew Whelan and Yusuke Legard was second in the same event on the men’s side (1:22.96) and went on to wrap up the morning session with a first-place finish in the 400 medley relay (3:18.42).
Whitlow turned in the first of her two victories in the women’s 200 individual medley, clocking a season-best mark of 2:03.19. Fellow rookie Zoe Lusk was third (2:04.03) and sophomore Connie Dean fourth (2:04.11). Tate followed suit in the men’s race, recording a time of 1:50.27.
In the 50 freestyle events, Legard was second (20.51) and Hess third (23.43).
Friday evening’s session kicked off with a second-place showing by senior Mickayla Hinkle, Dean, Hess and sophomore Quinn Scannell in the women’s 200 medley relay (1:43.93). Whitlow (4:20.92) and Dean (4:21.86) then keyed a one-two finish in the women’s 400 individual medley.
After Whelan took fifth in the men’s 100 butterfly (50.09), Pish was second in the women’s 200 freestyle (1:49.37). Tate returned to the pool for his second victory, this one coming in the men’s 100 breaststroke (55.20), while sophomore Adam Zimmer followed in fourth (56.40). In the final individual swimming event of the day, Hess claimed first in the women’s 100 backstroke (53.77) and Hartley took second for the men (49.54).
Freshman Maddi Pullinger (327.35) and senior Mackenzie Willborn (309.70) finished one-two in women’s three-meter diving and Wilborn led a one-two-three showing on the platform. Freshman Harel Anolick was fifth on the one-meter board (292.60) and sixth in the platform competition (229.45) for the Duke men.
The Blue Devils rounded out the day on a high note, sweeping the men’s and women’s 800 freestyle relays. The Duke women accumulated 689 points in the first two sessions to lead the five-team field while the men earned 466 points to sit behind host Princeton, Penn State and Northwestern.
The Big Al Invitational concludes Saturday, with the final session slated for 10 a.m. on ESPN+. Duke swimmers and divers also compete in West Lafayette, Ind., Saturday, representing the conference at the ACC/Big Ten Challenge beginning at 6 p.m. on BTN Plus on BTN2Go.
Duke Women 689, Northwestern 602, Penn State 473, Lehigh 446, Princeton 375
Princeton Men 610, Penn State 526.5, Northwestern 526, Duke 466, Lehigh 423.5
Top Duke Finishers by Event:
Women's 200-Yard Freestyle Relay: Maddie Hess, Melissa Pish, Shayna Hollander, Hunter Aitchison (1st), 1:33.61
Men's 200-Yard Freestyle Relay: Sheldon Boboff, Nathaniel Hartley, Matthew Whelan, Yusuke Legard (2nd), 1:22.96
Women's 400-Yard Medley Relay: Quinn Scannell, Halle Morris, Cabell Ann Whitlow, Melissa Pish (2nd), 3:46.46
Men's 400-Yard Medley Relay: Nathaniel Hartley, Sean Tate, Matthew Whelan, Yusuke Legard (1st), 3:18.42
Women's 200-Yard Medley Relay: Mickayla Hinkle, Connie Dean, Maddie Hess, Quinn Scannell (2nd), 1:43.93
Men's 200-Yard Medley Relay: Nathaniel Hartley, Sean Tate, Matthew Whelan, Sheldon Boboff (3rd), 1:31.26
Women's 800-Yard Freestyle Relay: Hunter Aitchison, Melissa Pish, Quinn Scannell, Maddie Hess (1st), 7:23.02
Men's 800-Yard Freestyle Relay: Sean Tate, Sheldon Boboff, Nathaniel Hartley, Yusuke Legard (1st), 6:37.74