GREENSBORO, N.C. – After kicking off the 2019 ACC Championships with three program records Wednesday, the Blue Devil men added two more during Thursday’s action at the Greensboro Aquatic Center.
“These first two days, to come away with five school records is a testament to the work our athletes have been putting in,” said head coach Dan Colella. “We had a couple swims tonight that kind of got away from us a little bit. But Sean Tate had a magnificent 200 IM and everybody – not only those who swam this evening but also those who competed this morning – looks to be firing on all cylinders. We’re looking forward to tomorrow’s events.”
Senior Judd Howard qualified for the 200-yard individual medley consolation final for the second straight season, finishing fifth in the heat and 13th overall (1:45.87) Thursday evening. An exciting preliminaries swim saw Howard take down the school record in the event with a 1:44.67 clocking.
Duke also featured two swimmers in the 200 individual medley bonus final, with senior Sean Tate placing fourth in the heat and junior Sheldon Boboff eighth (1:47.15). Tate’s finals time of 1:45.82 was good for the third-fastest in program history while Boboff jumped to fourth on the Blue Devils’ all-time performance list during preliminaries with a mark of 1:46.18.
A trio of veterans represented Duke in the 50 freestyle finals, led by senior Yusuke Legard, who improved upon his showing in the event a year ago by seven places for 12th. He notched a best time in the consolation final, going 19.73 for the fourth-fastest time in school history. Junior Miles Williams moved up four spots from the 2018 edition of the conference championships, taking 13th at 19.74. Senior Max St. George rounded out group with the first 50 freestyle finals appearance of his career, placing 21st in a best time of 19.86.
The Blue Devils wrapped up the evening by taking down their third school relay record in as many relay events at the championship. Legard, Williams, sophomore Nathaniel Hartley and St. George came in under the previous program record of 1:18.46 with a 1:18.36 performance, placing the group seventh in the conference.
“This year more than ever, everybody’s been on the same course and really on board with what we want to achieve as a program,” Colella said. “When everybody’s on board and doing the same things, that’s what you’re always hoping for. We’re seeing the fruit of all the labor they’ve put in.”
Several Blue Devils checked in with best times in the preliminaries of the 500 freestyle Thursday morning. Senior Riley Hickman and sophomore Spencer LaFata headlined the group with identical marks of 4:27.15, tying them for 33rd in the field, followed by freshmen David Hallaron (4:27.44) and Everett Werner (4:27.60). Both Hallaron and Werner’s showings placed them among the top 10 performers in program history in the event. LaFata (4:26.01) and sophomore Zach Washart (4:26.40) would return to the pool for an evening time trial in the event, with both recording career-best marks.
Duke enters Friday’s events sixth in the team standings with 300 points.
The third day of ACC Championships competition gets underway Friday at 10 a.m. with preliminaries of the 100 butterfly, 400 individual medley, 200 freestyle, 100 breaststroke and the 100 backstroke. Finals begin at 6 p.m. on ACC Network Extra.
1) NC State 496.5 2) Louisville 404 3) Virginia Tech 378.5 4) Florida State 378 5) Virginia 363 6) Duke 300 7) Notre Dame 256 8) Georgia Tech 224 9) Pitt 206 10) North Carolina 167 11) Miami 101 12) Boston College 96
Men’s 200-Yard Individual Medley: Judd Howard (13th), 1:45.87
Men’s 50-Yard Freestyle: Yusuke Legard (12th), 19.73