DURHAM, N.C. – Members of the Duke women’s swimming and diving team and the men’s diving team are primed to begin the championship portion of their season Wednesday, Feb. 19 as the 2014 ACC Swimming & Diving Championships get underway in Greensboro, N.C. The conference championship will be held at the Greensboro Aquatic Center for the second consecutive year.
Events begin Wednesday evening and continue with preliminaries and finals sessions at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20 through Saturday, Feb. 22. Men’s and women’s diving preliminaries are scheduled to take place during the afternoon Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with diving finals slated for late in the afternoon. Finals sessions Thursday through Saturday will be streamed live on theACC.com from 7 to 9 p.m. each evening. A complete schedule, as well as links to live scoring and parking information, can be found on theacc.com.
Scouting the Competition
The ACC currently features four teams ranked in the top 25 of the CSCAA Division I Women’s Team Rankings … Virginia, winner of the past six conference crowns, leads the way at No. 7, followed by No. 9 North Carolina, No. 21 NC State and No. 24 Notre Dame … Florida State also received votes in the latest poll … Virginia (5-0) and Florida State (3-0) finished atop the regular season ACC standings with undefeated marks against conference competition … The Duke women compiled a 1-3 ledger against ACC competition this season, earning a victory over Miami Nov. 8 … Women’s teams from Notre Dame and Pittsburgh will take part in the ACC Championship for the first time since joining the conference.
New Scoring Format to Debut in 2014
Beginning this year, all three swimming finals events – the championship ‘A’ final, consolation ‘B’ final and bonus ‘C’ final – will be scored … This marks a change from previous ACC Championships, where only competitors in the ‘A’ and ‘B’ finals scored … All 24 competitors in a finals event will now be able to contribute to their team’s total score.
Duke at the 2013 ACC Championship
The Blue Devil women finished seventh in the team standings with 246 points at the 2013 ACC Championship in Greensboro, moving up two spots from the previous year … The team combined to set 14 program records during the course of the meet, including nine in individual events and five in relay events … Duke swimmers turned in three podium finishes at the conference meet, with Lauren Weaver taking third in the 50-yard freestyle and Christine Wixted earning a pair of All-ACC honors in the 100 and 200 breaststroke for the second-straight year … Both Weaver and Wixted went on to represent Duke at the 2013 NCAA Women’s Swimming & Diving Championship.
Blue Devil Swimmers in the Conference Landscape
Senior Christine Wixted ranks third in the ACC and is tied for 13th nationally with her 100 breaststroke time of 1:00.27 at the Nike Cup Invitational … Wixted is also fourth in the conference in the 200 breaststroke and seventh in the 200 IM heading into the conference meet … Freshman Maddie Rusch has turned in the ACC’s second-fastest time of the season in the 50 freestyle at 22.61, behind only Florida State’s Tiffany Oliver, who won the conference title last season (22.44) … Senior Lauren Weaver, Duke’s school record holder in the event, currently ranks sixth in the 50 freestyle with a 22.86 clocking … The Blue Devils’ 200 freestyle relay of Weaver, Wixted, Rusch and sophomore Chelsea Ye has posted the fifth-best time this season (1:32.18), while Duke’s 400 freestyle and 200 medley relays are ranked seventh.
Duke Divers Set for Strong Showing
Senior Nick McCrory returns to the ACC Championship a year after sweeping all three men’s titles, becoming the first diver in the history of the ACC to do so at a conference meet … McCrory broke his own ACC and school record on the 3-meter board at last year’s championship, and has since then topped his own record again with a score of 519.00 in the regular season finale against North Carolina Feb. 1 … Last year’s ACC Championship saw McCrory solidify his legacy as the most decorated diver, male or female, in the history of the conference with seven ACC diving titles for his career … He was named the 2013 ACC Championship Most Valuable Diver and the 2013 ACC Men’s Diver of the Year … McCrory paces the conference on all three disciplines this season heading into the championship meet, while sophomore Deon Reid is 10th on the 3-meter board and seventh on the platform … On the women’s side, sophomore Kendall McClenney ranks seventh on the platform and freshman Kirby Quinn has turned in the ninth-best score at the 3-meter height … Sophomore Jaimee Gundry advanced to the finals of the platform competition at last year’s ACC Championship, placing sixth with an award of 265.75.
Program Looks to Senior Leaders
With a number of Duke freshmen expected to contribute toward the team total this weekend in Greensboro, the squad will also rely heavily on the experience of its upperclassmen … Seniors Lauren Weaver and Christine Wixted are both returning All-ACC performers and boast NCAA Championship experience … Weaver and Wixted have also been key components to Duke’s relay success at the past few ACC Championships, as has graduate student Emily Barber, who will look to be a force in the breaststroke events individually as well.
“Our hopes are that we go in, as always, ready to compete at the highest level,” said head coach Dan Colella. “We have the potential to do a lot of exciting things. We have people that can definitely score a lot of points. We have people that can medal, win. We have relays that will have the opportunity to qualify for NCAAs. I know they’re going to just give it everything they have and try to make those things happen.”