GREENSBORO, N.C. - Junior Steven Gasparini broke the program record twice in the 200-yard individual medley and senior Ben Hwang earned a spot in the championship final of the 50 freestyle to lead Duke Thursday on the second day of action at the 2012 Atlantic Coast Conference Men's Swimming & Diving Championships. The Blue Devils also set a number of personal records, turning in best performances in 14 out of 17 swims on the day.
The Duke men are in seventh place through the first seven events of the championship meet with a total of 91 points, including points earned from junior Nick McCrory's first-place finish last week in the 1-meter springboard diving competition. Virginia is atop the team standings with 256 points, followed by Virginia Tech (217) in second and Florida State (205) in third.
In the first event of the evening, senior Ben Hwang, senior Adam Flur, freshman Sam Skinner and sophomore Stefan Knight combined for a season-best mark of 1:19.32 in the 200-yard freestyle relay, placing the squad seventh in the conference. In addition, Hwang's leadoff swim of 19.97 surpassed the NCAA provisional standard in the 50 freestyle.
Freshman Kevin Butz represented Duke in the bonus final of the 500 freestyle, overcoming Derek Pridemore of Florida State to win the heat and take 17th overall in a personal-best time of 4:27.13.
"He really stood up and raced well this morning," said head coach Dan Colella. "Coming back tonight, we talked about his race strategy. We talked about being a little more composed going out, not expending as much energy in the first part of the race and it paid off. That is a lifetime best and I am extremely proud of his performance tonight."
After breaking a four-year old program record in the preliminaries of the 200 IM with a 1:47.80 swim, junior Steven Gasparini came back Thursday night to eclipse his own record at 1:47.65. Gasparini was eighth 100 yards into the consolation final but moved up to third in the back half of the heat to finish 11th in the conference. The Harrisburg, Pa., native also earned a pair of NCAA 'B' cuts with his performances.
"We are really proud of the way Steve raced this evening," Colella said. "It was great swim this morning going in a 1:47.8 and he is a real competitor. For him to come back and swim the way he did and stay composed - he was a little behind at the 100, but he had a strong back half. We talked about it this morning and he really wanted to work on the last 50. That is what he did tonight and that is what made the difference."
Hwang picked up more points for Duke in the 50 freestyle, advancing to the championship final with a personal-best and NCAA provisionally-qualifying mark of 19.77 during the event preliminaries. The evening session saw the Duke senior tap the wall at 19.80 to finish seventh, while sophomore Stefan Knight joined Hwang in registering an NCAA 'B' cut with a personal-best 20.06 clocking in a 19th-place showing. Senior Adam Flur came in 23rd at 20.49 after notching a best time of 20.38 in the preliminaries.
The Blue Devils started off the morning's preliminary session with several personal-best performances, including a best time by sophomore Michael Donnalley in the 500 freestyle (4:29.76). In the 200 IM preliminaries, junior Hunter Knight (1:50.44), junior Tyler Fleming (1:50.59), sophomore Tyler Toren (1:50.73) and freshman Victor Chen (1:56.78) all posted personal-bests, as did senior Jim Zuponeck (20.63), senior Ted Minturn (21.36) and sophomore Clay Sanders (23.20) in the preliminaries of the 50 freestyle.
"We are really excited that out of our 14 swims this morning, 13 of them are lifetime bests," Colella said. "I think that has the guys very excited about the upcoming few days. In the coming days, we have some big opportunities and I think they are ready to capitalize on some of those opportunities."
The 2012 Men's ACC Swimming & Diving Championships continue Friday, March 1 at 11 a.m. with the preliminaries of the 400 IM, 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle, 100 breaststroke and the 100 backstroke. Finals in five individual events and the 400 medley relay are slated for 7 p.m. at the Greensboro Aquatic Center.
Team Standings Through Day Two
|2. Virginia Tech||217|
|3. Florida State||205|
|4. North Carolina||192|
|5. NC State||133|
|6. Georgia Tech||118|
|8. Boston College||70|