GREENSBORO, N.C. – Freshman Michael Miller earned a podium finish and a pair of Blue Devils turned in strong performances in the 100-yard breaststroke championship final to lead Duke on the third day of action at the 2014 ACC Men’s Championship Friday at the Greensboro Aquatic Center.
A day after surpassing the program standard in the 200 IM, Miller continued to rewrite the record books Friday, breaking the previous mark in the 400 IM with a 3:46.80 swim during the morning preliminaries to secure a spot in the championship final. In the final, the Houston, Texas native closed in impressive speed to claim the bronze medal. His time of 3:46.03 was good for another program record as well as an NCAA Championships provisionally-qualifying mark.
“I was trying to stick to my strategy and just come home really well like I’ve been practicing all year,” Miller said. “It ended up working out. I wasn’t really expecting it, but it just felt great.”
In addition, Miller made history by becoming the first Duke male swimmer to garner All-ACC accolades as a freshman.
“He’s had a great meet thus far, an unbelievable meet,” said head coach Dan Colella. “He’s a championship swimmer. This morning he really executed a great race plan, made his moves when he needed it and really capitalized on his strengths, and he just did the exact same thing tonight. For a freshman to keep that composure during the course of a 400 IM was just absolutely exciting to watch.”
Competing in his first of two individual events on the evening, fellow rookie Kaz Takabayashi dropped time from his 100 butterfly preliminaries performance to tap the wall at 48.50 in the bonus final. Takabayashi came in 22nd in the conference while registering the fourth-fastest time in school history and a lifetime best. Freshman Bradley Cline followed by winning the 200 freestyle bonus final in a personal-best and NCAA ‘B’ cut of 1:37.73 to rank third on the Blue Devils’ all-time charts.
Duke was well-represented in the 100 breaststroke as senior Hunter Knight and freshman Peter Kropp each advanced to the championship final. Kropp took fourth in the conference at 53.34 and Knight, an All-ACC performer in the event last year, finished just behind in fifth at 53.43 with both times surpassing the NCAA provisional standard in the event. The two swimmers now rank second and third, respectively, on Duke’s all-time top 10.
“We’re incredibly proud to be able to get two guys in that final,” Colella said. “For Peter Kropp to be able to come in as a freshman and get into the ‘A’ final at this championship is a great feat. And Hunter’s been very consistent each year in being able to final in the 100 breaststroke.”
After logging a personal-best 49.20 in the 100 backstroke preliminaries, Takabayashi returned to the pool for a second time Friday night to take 18th overall (49.42). Fellow freshman Joey Maginnis was 24th in the event with a season best of 50.09.
Results from last week’s 3-meter springboard diving competition were added to the team scores on day three, with the Blue Devil divers accounting for 34 points. Senior Nick McCrory won the 3-meter competition for the second consecutive year and third in his career, breaking his own ACC and school record in the process with an award of 531.00. Freshman Cole Plambeck also scored with a 23rd-place finish (296.40).
The Duke men sit eighth out of 11 teams (325) with one day of competition remaining in Greensboro. Virginia Tech took the lead Friday evening with a total score of 815.5 points while NC State was second (807.5) and North Carolina (675) third.
Saturday’s events include the 1,650 freestyle, 200 backstroke, 100 freestyle, 200 breaststroke, 200 butterfly and the 400 freestyle relay. Live video will be available for the finals session at 7 p.m. while live results will be available throughout the day.
Team Standings Through Day Three
|1. Virginia Tech||815.5|
|2. NC State||807.5|
|3. North Carolina||675|
|4. Notre Dame||652|
|5. Florida State||646.5|
|7. Georgia Tech||329.5|
|10. Boston College||167|