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Sophomore Lauren Weaver
Duke Falls to Ranked Virginia in Home Opener
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 01/20/2012
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DURHAM, N.C. - Strong relay performances and wins in three out of the four diving events highlighted the Duke swimming and diving teams' home opener against nationally-ranked Virginia Friday evening in Taishoff Aquatic Pavilion. The No. 12 Cavalier men edged Duke, 155-140, while the 11th-ranked Virginia women defeated Duke by a 154-131 margin.

The Blue Devils opened the meet on a high note, as the women's 200 medley relay team of freshman Megan McCarroll, sophomore Christine Wixted, senior Steffi Niessl and sophomore Lauren Weaver tallied a first-place finish with a time of 1:43.44. In the men's 200 medley relay, the team of sophomore Steven Gasparini, graduate student Piotr Safronczyk, senior Ben Tuben and junior Ben Hwang got out to a commanding lead before being disqualified.

"We're starting to take some real pride in our relays," said head coach Dan Colella. "It's really starting to come together ... We're definitely seeing some highlights from everybody."

Senior Meghan Dwyer notched a second-place finish in the women's 100 back, touching in 56.52, while junior Ted Minturn took third in the men's race in a season-best 51.54. Duke swept the 100 breaststroke events for the second consecutive meet, as Wixted won the women's race with an NCAA 'B' qualifying standard of 1:02.69. Safronczyk came out on top in the men's event, swimming 55.86 for Duke's third-best mark of the season.

Blue Devil sprinters claimed first in the 50 free events for the second consecutive meet, with Weaver posting a time of 23.69 in her win on the women's side. Hwang won the men's race at 20.10 for an NCAA 'B' cut standard, while junior Adam Flur came in third (21.13) and Tuben fourth (21.18). Hwang completed his own sweep in the sprint free events, as he came back to win the 100 free with a mark of 45.09.  

Junior Cara Vogel and Dwyer finished second and third, respectively, in the women's 200 back, followed by Minturn's first-place performance in the event at 1:51.30. Sophomore Hunter Knight recorded another win for Duke just a few events later, notching a time of 2:04.44 in the 200 breast. Senior Rose O'Connor turned in a second-place performance in the women's 500 free (5:06.10), while Weaver, Wixted and Niessl grabbed the top three spots in the 100 fly. Meanwhile, Tuben won the men's 100 fly with a 49.73 clocking.

Duke closed out the swimming events in strong fashion as well, as freshman Ali Horn took first in the women's 400 IM (4:29.90) and sophomore Tyler Fleming won the race on the men's side (4:08.69). In the women's 400 free relay, Dwyer, Wixted, Weaver and Vogel teamed up for a first-place finish at 3:28.11 while Gasparini, Hwang, Tuben and Flur posted a time of 3:04.33 in their win.

Senior Jessica Lyden paced the Blue Devil divers with a pair of wins on the low boards. Lyden won the 1-meter competition with a score of 291.23 and totaled 308.25 points on the 3-meter board to take first there as well. Her scores in both events qualified her to the NCAA Zone Diving Championships. Fellow senior Cody Kolodziejzyk claimed first in the men's 3-meter event with a mark of 366.08 - good for an NCAA Zone Diving standard, and junior Jordan Long finished second on the 1-meter board with a score of 310.35.

The Duke men move to 4-5 overall and 1-4 in the ACC with the loss to the Cavaliers, while the women fall to 3-6 overall and 0-5 in conference action.

"This is probably the best meet we've had against Virginia in terms of just not backing down," Colella said. "[We had] some incredible performances on the relay knowing that going into next weekend's meet, they're going to be ready to go."

The Blue Devils return to Taishoff Aquatic Pavilion next Friday, Jan. 27 when they host ACC rival North Carolina at 5 p.m.