GREENSBORO, N.C. – Junior Kylie Jordan secured Duke’s second podium finish in as many evenings, leading the Blue Devils on a record-breaking day at the ACC Championships.
Behind Jordan’s third-place performance in the 100-yard butterfly and six top-five finishes by swimmers and divers, the Duke women sit in fifth place with 570.5 points entering the final day of competition in Greensboro.
“Tonight was just another special night,” said head coach Dan Colella. “Starting with the 100 flys – Kylie getting up on the podium was awesome. Alyssa Marsh finishing fifth – for Alyssa, just a big night of swimming. Coming back and getting fourth in the 100 backstroke and then turning around and having a really great leadoff leg on that 400 medley relay … Mackenzie [Willborn] finaling and finishing fifth tonight topped off another great evening. We’re going to see if we can make some moves tomorrow morning. Tomorrow is a big day for everybody but it should be a good one for us.”
After taking fourth in the 100 butterfly in 2018, Jordan broke into the top three Friday night, garnering her first career podium finish in third. She dropped time from her morning swim, closing with speed for a 51.46 clocking in finals. Junior Alyssa Marsh joined Jordan in the event championship final, helping the Blue Devils pick up major points with a fifth-place finish (52.06).
Freshman Cabell Ann Whitlow was back in a consolation final for the second straight evening, swimming strong wire-to-wire to win the heat in the 400 individual medley. The Roanoke, Va., native shaved over five seconds off of her preliminaries performance to tap the wall at 4:11.00 for ninth overall and third on Duke’s all-time top 10. Two more Blue Devil rookies, Easop Lee (4:14.17) and Zoe Lusk (4:20.25), competed in the bonus final, placing 18th and 24th, respectively.
Freshman Melissa Pish kept the momentum rolling in the 200 freestyle, cruising to a first-place showing in the consolation final. She took down her own school record in the process, stopping the clock at 1:45.08. Sophomore Carly Perri was sixth in the bonus final (1:48.54) after moving up to sixth on the program’s all-time performance list during preliminaries with a 1:48.32 swim.
“Our freshmen again were really on fire tonight,” Colella said. “Easop having a nice drop from this morning in that 400 IM and then Cabell turning around and having a huge drop – going 4:11 flat. For her coming in as a freshman this year, she was 4:21. To drop to 4:11 is just unbelievable and a testament to the great work she did this year … Melissa Pish in that 200 free just took control from the start and never looked back.”
Swimming a double for the Blue Devils Friday evening, Marsh returned to the water in the 100 backstroke championship final, where she was joined by senior Maddie Hess. Marsh surpassed her own program record for the second time on the day, going 52.18 for fourth. Hess followed suit in fifth, with her mark of 52.27 good for a career best and second all-time at Duke. Freshman Shayna Hollander added a 15th-place finish (55.49) in the event consolation final after moving up to fourth on the all-time top 10 during preliminaries (53.45).
Friday’s events saw the women’s divers head to the platform and senior Mackenzie Willborn qualify for her second championship final of the meet. Willborn matched her fifth-place finish on the three-meter springboard with a second fifth-place showing, scoring 231.50 points in the final. Her total award of 267.30 in the preliminary round marked a career best, moving the Flower Mound, Texas native up to fourth in the program record books.
Duke rounded out the evening’s events with its third school record in four relay swims at the conference championship. Marsh, sophomore Halle Morris, Jordan and Pish combined for a time of 3:34.95 to break the previous record of 3:35.64 set at last year’s ACC meet. That performance was good for fifth overall and an NCAA provisional cut.
Morris also represented Duke in the 100 breaststroke, coming in 25th in preliminaries with a best time of 1:02.32.
The Women’s ACC Championships wrap up Saturday at Greensboro Aquatic Center. Swimming preliminaries begin at 10 a.m., diving preliminaries at 11 a.m., heats of the mile at 4 p.m. and finals at 6 p.m. Saturday’s evening finals session will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra.
1) NC State 886 2) Virginia 867 3) Louisville 766 4) Notre Dame 624.5 5) Duke 570.5 6) Florida State 490 7) North Carolina 487.5 8) Virginia Tech 333 9) Pitt 237 10) Georgia Tech 209 11) Miami 184.5 12) Boston College 124
Top Duke Finishers by Event:
Women’s 100-Yard Butterfly: Kylie Jordan (3rd), 51.46
Women’s 400-Yard Individual Medley: Cabell Ann Whitlow (9th), 4:11.00
Women’s 200-Yard Freestyle: Melissa Pish (9th), 1:45.08
Women’s 100-Yard Breaststroke: Halle Morris (25th), 1:02.32
Women’s 100-Yard Backstroke: Alyssa Marsh (4th), 52.18
Women’s Platform Diving: Mackenzie Willborn (5th), 231.50