DURHAM, N.C. - The Duke swimming and diving program notched a pair of signature wins on Friday evening, taking down a Georgia Tech men’s team that finished 19th in the nation last season and a Houston women’s team that finished the year ranked 17th. The men downed Georgia Tech by a score of 171.5 to 128.5, moving to 3-1 on the season. The women defeated both Georgia Tech and Houston to advance to 3-2 on the year.
In the previous two meets, the Blue Devils struggled to get out of the gates quickly. However, both squads started this weekend’s meet on a high note, each taking first in the 400 medley relays.
To open the individual events, junior Ashley Twichell continued her unbeaten streak in the 1000 free, notching first place and was followed closely by senior Jackie Fasano who took second place with a season-best 10:13.58. On the men’s side, freshman Alex Harmon led by just a half body-length heading into the bell lap of the 1000 free before pulling away to convincingly win the event in 9:46.71.
Just 10 minutes after taking first in the 1000, Twichell was back in the pool to swim the 200 free. With a late surge, she claimed second place in the event.
Freshman Cara Vogel turned in another solid meet for Duke. She posted Duke’s fastest time of the season in the 100 backstroke which was good enough for third place. After the break, she helped Duke get back on track by following up Meghan Dwyer’s first-place finish in the 200 back with a second place of her own in the event.
The women kept the meet close with two key performances in the 100 breaststroke. Emily Barber was out-touched at the wall but held on for second place while Meredith Bannon took third.
Strong performances in the 200 butterfly were a key component in the Duke win. First, in the women’s heat, Shannon Beall and Elizabeth Bellew combined for a one-two finish. Beall also picked up a first-place finish in the 100 butterfly. And in arguably the most thrilling swim of the evening, freshman Chris Cirllo held off two charging Yellow Jackets to secure first place with a time of 1:54.71.
Junior Spencer Booth was clicking. Booth dominated the field in the 200 backstroke, taking first place and setting an example for freshman Ted Minturn who claimed second place. Later, in the 100 fly, Booth looked strong, edging teammate Nick Garvy for first place.
Duke’s middle-distance freestylers returned to the pool for the 500 free. Twichell secured first place, but the most thrilling battle took place in the middle of the pool between Fasano and Kimberly Eeson of Houston. Fasano split a 28.74 over the final 50 yards, earning her a second-place finish. For the men, Matt Carder and Sean Smith went one-three, respectively, to finish out the evening’s distance events.
The men capped off the meet emphatically, racing to first and second place in the 400 freestyle relay.
The wins are a great step for Duke swimming and diving programs which are on the rise.
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