COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Duke sophomore Ashley Twichell turned in a courageous performance Saturday night at the 2009 NCAA Championships at Texas A&M’s Student Rec Center Natatorium, swimming 16:12.87 to take 23rd overall in the 1650 free.
Twichell improved her time in the swim four seconds from last year when she swam 16:16 at this meet. After two consecutive appearances at the NCAA Championships, Twichell is the first Duke swimmer to make it to that stage since 2004.
“It was truly a courageous swim for Ashley in the mile after having to scratch in the 500 earlier this week with a stomach virus,” said head coach Dan Colella. “After watching what she did today, I am truly impressed and proud. A lot of people would have rolled over under those circumstances, but she did a great job.”
Twichell elected not to participate in Thursday’s 500 freestyle after experiencing symptoms of a stomach virus upon arrival in College Station. She rested up for today’s 1650 – her strongest event – but was still not at full strength at race time.
Georgia’s Wendy Trott won the event in 15:45.49, followed by North Carolina’s Whitney Sprague in 15:46.57.
Twichell was the No. 4 seed entering the race as she clocked a lifetime-best, ACC meet, and Duke school record 15:56.50 to win the 2009 ACC Championships. She became Duke’s first swimmer to come in under 16 minutes in the mile swim.
Today concludes a sophomore season in which Twichell set three Duke records as an individual and one in a relay – 500 free (4:44.56), 1000 free (9:37.57), 1650 free (15:56.50), and 800 free relay (7:22.49). She owns a total of five records as she set the 200 free record her freshman year.
The Blue Devils finish with 14 team points to make a name for themselves amongst the top teams in the nation – coming after freshman diver Abby Johnston placed fifth last night on the three-meter springboard. The 14 points is the most in Duke history at the national championships and ranked Duke 33rd as a team in the meet.