CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Juniors Hunter Knight and Christine Wixted swept the men's and women's 100 and 200-yard breaststroke events Saturday in the Duke swimming and diving program's regular season dual meet finale against Atlantic Coast Conference rival North Carolina. The Blue Devil men suffered a 164-128 loss to the 16th-ranked Tar Heel men, while the Duke women also fell by a score of 166-127 to the No. 16 North Carolina women at Koury Natatorium.
Overall, the Blue Devils totaled wins in nine individual events and one relay on the afternoon, highlighted by Knight and Wixted's sweeps in the breaststroke events and junior Nick McCrory's first-place finishes in the men's 1 and 3-meter springboard diving competitions.
The Duke women edged North Carolina in the first event of the afternoon, as the 200-yard medley relay team of sophomore Megan McCarroll, junior Christine Wixted, junior Lauren Weaver and freshman Chelsea Ye collected a first-place finish with a time of 1:43.61. Meanwhile junior Steven Gasparini, junior Hunter Knight, freshman Sam Skinner and senior Adam Flur teamed up for a third-place showing in the men's 200 medley relay (1:32.22).
McCarroll picked up the first individual win of the day for Duke in the women's 100 backstroke, touching in a time of 56.73, which was less than a half second off her season-best time of 56.29. Wixted followed in the next women's event with another win, besting the field in the 100 breaststroke with a mark of 1:03.53. Wixted came back to sweep the breaststroke events for the fourth time this season, taking first in the in the 200 breaststroke at 2:17.48.
Weaver picked up a win in the 50 freestyle, clocking 23.40 for first place, while fellow junior Kelly Hagerty claimed fourth in 24.26. Ye swam a solid time of 52.55 to take third in the 100 freestyle, and McCarroll added to her successful day with a third-place finish in the 200 backstroke, touching at 2:03.69.
Hunter Knight notched the first win of the day for the Duke men in the 100 breaststroke, taking first in 56.23. Senior Jim Zuponeck made it a one-two finish for the Blue Devils, grabbing second place with a time of 56.61. Knight went on to make it a sweep the breaststroke events for the fifth time this season, coming from behind to win the 200-yard distance in 2:02.90. Sophomore Ali Horn picked up a third-place finish for the Blue Devils in the women's 100 fly in a time of 57.36, and teammate Weaver took fourth in 58.36.
"Hunter Knight again winning the 100 and 200 breaststroke and coming back from behind in the 200 was really big," said head coach Dan Colella. "And anytime we can beat an ACC opponent such as UNC or Virginia in those relays is significant."
Duke's divers made strong statements on the 1-meter and 3-meter springboard events in their last outing before next month's ACC Championships. McCrory won both the men's 1-meter and 3-meter diving events with season-high scores. He garnered scores of 404.70 points in the 1-meter and 416.25 in the 3-meter, both qualifying for the zone diving championships. Meanwhile, senior Jordan Long continued to shine on the 3-meter, finishing second behind teammate McCrory.
Freshman Kendall McClenney took first in the women's 1-meter event with a score of 259.35, collecting the first individual win of her collegiate career. Fellow rookie Jaimee Gundry took second on the 3-meter board.
"Jordan had a great day on the 3-meter," said diving coach Drew Johansen. "It's really grown to be his best event. Obviously Nick is coming along well. Kendall won her first dual meet as a college athlete, so that's one of the things you have to learn is how to take an opportunity and win. And then Jaimee had a nice performance on the 3-meter, with the second-place finish, so we're in a pretty good spot."
Wixted later added to her breaststroke sweep with a third-place finish in the 200 IM, clocking 2:08.32. Hunter Knight finished one place higher in the same event on the men's side, clocking 1:54.03. Senior Matt Carder also turned in a good performance in the 1,000 freestyle, finishing fourth in a season-best time of 9:44.24.
In the pool, the Blue Devils rounded out the afternoon a second-place finish in the women's 400 freestyle relay, as the team of Weaver, Ye, Hagerty and freshman Kathryn Eckhart clocked a time of 3:31.09. In the men's 400 freestyle relay, Flur, Skinner, Carder and sophomore Tyler Toren recorded at a time of 3:07.81 to come in fourth.
"We had a few highlights today, but we didn't perform the way we had hoped to come in and perform today," Colella said. "These next several weeks we need to get ourselves focused for ACC Championships."
The Duke swimmers compete next at the Cavalier Invitational, Feb. 15-16 in Charlottesville, Va.