CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Duke divers turned in strong performances on the platform and the men’s and women’s swimmers combined for four NCAA provisional time standards and one new school record Saturday, Nov. 23 to round out action at the 2013 Janis Hape Dowd Nike Cup at North Carolina’s Koury Natatorium.
Over the course of the three-day meet the Blue Devils recorded seven first-place finishes, set two program records and achieved 15 NCAA ‘B’ cuts and 17 NCAA Zone Diving Championships qualifying marks. The Duke women finished fourth out of seven squads in the final standings with 1456.5 points and the men totaled 1214.5 points to place fourth of six teams.
“This was one of the best mid-season meets we’ve ever had,” said head coach Dan Colella. “All six sessions, everybody was performing really well. We’re really thrilled with the performances. We definitely learned things this weekend that are going to make us better in the second half of the season and really make us better for ACCs and NCAAs.”
Senior Christine Wixted broke her own school record for the second time in as many days to pace the Blue Devil women individually. A native of Greenwood Village, Colo., Wixted posted an NCAA ‘B’ qualifying time of 2:13.14 in the 200-yard breaststroke preliminaries before clocking 2:10.10 for a first-place finish and new program record in the evening final. Graduate student Emily Barber also advanced to the ‘A’ final in the event, touching seventh in 2:17.74 while freshman Ashleigh Shanley was ninth in 2:16.96.
On the men’s side, senior Hunter Knight also earned a pair of NCAA ‘B’ cuts in the 200 breaststroke, registering a time of 1:58.87 Saturday evening to place third overall. Freshman Dylan Payne (2:01.73) and sophomore Victor Chen (2:02.39) were 9th and 10th, respectively in the same event.
The finals of the 100 freestyle featured a pair of Duke freshmen as Maddie Rusch tapped the wall at 50.71 to come in sixth in the women’s race and classmate James Peek finished eighth for the men at 45.97. The Blue Devils’ rookie class also netted points with a seventh-place showing by Kaz Takabayashi in the 200 butterfly (1:49.82) and eighth-place finishes by Liza Bragg (2:02.08) and Bradley Cline (1:50.64) in the 200 backstroke.
In the final event of the evening, the women’s team of Rusch, senior Lauren Weaver, sophomore Kathryn Eckhart and Wixted took fourth in the 400 freestyle relay (3:24.46) while Cline, freshman Jack Carey, sophomore Delaney Brock and Peek combined for an eighth-place finish (3:03.01).
The Blue Devil diving corps contributed strong performances in the men’s and women’s platform competitions, which were held Saturday morning at Duke’s Taishoff Aquatic Pavilion. Senior Nick McCrory completed his sweep of the men’s diving events at the meet, garnering an award of 460.30 to lead the field and qualify him to the NCAA Zone Diving Championships. Sophomore Deon Reid took third at 290.80 and freshman Cole Plambeck was fifth with a score of 256.05. In the women’s platform event, sophomore Kendall McClenney was second (209.00) and freshman Kirby Quinn third (195.10).
Following this weekend’s meet in Chapel Hill, the Duke men and women will resume competition Saturday, Jan. 11 when they travel to Columbia, S.C., to take on SEC opponent South Carolina.