DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke men’s and women’s swimming & diving squads returned for the second half of the 2008-09 season Saturday afternoon as they hosted South Carolina and Davidson in a dual meet at the Taishoff Aquatic Pavilion. The men came out victorious and the women fell by just two points to USC in a down-to-the-wire finish but defeated Davidson in both teams’ first official meet in over a month.
The men registered a team score of 153 to edge South Carolina’s 145 and Davidson’s 118. The women were just two points behind the Gamecocks (151) with their team score of 149, and edged Davidson which scored 120.5 on the afternoon.
The men’s squad used the pair of wins to improve to 4-1 on the season, while the women now sit at 6-1 with the split.
“We are very proud of the team – last year both squads lost pretty handily to South Carolina so for us to come back and have the men win today was huge,” said head coach Dan Colella. “This is just another big step for our program. The women, too, were extremely competitive, coming down to the last relay, and came up a little bit short.”
“We all learned something today that will make us better, and these are the meets that will help us improve and be the best that we can be.”
The Blue Devil divers turned in a strong showing across the board as the men went 1-2 on the one-meter and 1-3 on the three-meter, while the women took 2-3-4 on the three-meter board and 1-4 on the one-meter. Freshman Abby Johnston won the one-meter competition with her score of 321.90, good for her third-best showing of the season. She was also second on the three-meter with a score of 332.60 behind South Carolina’s Taryn Zack.
The men saw Cody Kolodziejzyk take first in the one-meter with a 294.10, also taking first on the three-meter with a score of 329.50, his and the team’s best performance of the season, as he emerged as a double-winner on the day.
The men’s and women’s swimmers both kicked off the afternoon strong and earned victories in the 200 medley relay, with the men’s ‘A’ squad of David Hahn, Jordan Charles, Nick Garvy, and Andy Osterland taking first in 1:34.56, followed by Spencer Booth, Bryan Durazo, Eric Ness, and Ryan Packer in second with their 1:36.12 as Duke went 1-2. The women also won the event, with the ‘A’ squad of Meghan Dwyer, Meredith Bannon, Steffi Niessl, and Shannon Beall touching in at 1:45.01.
The Blue Devil women dominated the 1000 freestyle as sophomore Ashley Twichell and junior Jackie Fasano went 1-2 in the event. Twichell swam a 9:59.44 to take first, followed by Fasano’s 10:01.87 as the duo swam neck-and-neck the entire way. Nathan French and Andrew Clark did the same on the men’s side, taking first (9:30.44) and second (9:47.20), respectively, in the afternoon’s longest race.
Twichell and Fasano were out in front again in the 200 free, as Twichell tied for second in the event with her 1:53.40, a dead heat with Davidson’s Anna Stringfield and just behind USC’s Claire Thompson. Fasano was close behind in fourth in 1:53.43.
Duke’s Spencer Booth and Pieter Den Hartog went 2-3 on the men’s side, clocking in at 1:42.70 and 1:44.07, respectively, followed by Andrew Huff in fourth (1:44.46). The women’s 100 backstroke featured freshman Meghan Dwyer in second (57.30) followed by teammates Katharine Bodnar (59.23) in third and Alessondra Speidel (1:01.67) in fourth. The men’s 100 back saw David Hahn grab second place with his swim of 52.69, while Murillo Adrados clocked in with a 52.76 to claim third place.
Meredith Bannon took second in the 100 breast (1:05.23), her second-fastest swim as well as Duke’s for the season. Jordan Charles won the 100 breast on the men’s side, taking the race in 59.84. The women’s 200 butterfly was won by Beall (2:01.95), the team’s second-best performance of the season, while Ness came in second for the men in 1:54.88.
In the sprints, Niessl finished second in the 50 free in 24.22, as Andy Osterland came in second as well in 21.59 in his race.
Dwyer and Bodnar went 2-3 in the 200 back on the women’s side, coming in at 2:03.27 and 2:04.62, respectively.
Twichell and Fasano teamed up again for another 1-2 finish in the 500 free, as Twichell clocked a winning time of 4:55.10 and Fasano a 4:55.68. Huff and Sean Smith were 2-3 for the Blue Devils in the men’s 500 free.
Closing down the day with the 400 IM and the 400 free relays, the Blue Devils saw some clutch performances down the stretch with the scores not yet decided. Beall took third in the women’s 400 IM in 4:28.99, and the men saw French (4:04.96) and Alex Kluge (4:11.70) go 1-3 there.
The last event was the 400 medley relay, where the men’s ‘B’ team of Booth, Osterland, Garvy, and Packer took second in 3:06.39, followed by the ‘A’ team of Den Hartog, Carlson, Smith, and Hahn in third with their 3:08.42 to preserve the meet win. The women’s squad of Kirstie Jeffrey, Dwyer, Twichell, and Niessl was second (3:31.14) by just three seconds behind the Gamecocks top team as USC was able to come out with the win on the day by the slimmest of margins.
Next up for the Blue Devils will be a road dual meet versus Gardner-Webb next Sat., Jan. 17 at 1 p.m.