DURHAM, N.C. – After kicking off the 2017-18 campaign by hosting a pair of ACC opponents last weekend, the Blue Devils will be back in action Friday, taking on NC State and Penn State at the Wolfpack’s Willis R. Casey Aquatic Center in Raleigh, N.C.
The double dual meet gets underway Friday at 5 p.m. Live results will be available here.
In the Rankings
Duke will face another strong field this weekend, with the NC State women and men both appearing in the top 10 of the College Swimming Coaches Association of America’s Division I preseason poll. The Wolfpack men came in at No. 5 and the women at No. 8, while the Blue Devil women were listed at No. 20.
A Look at Duke
The Blue Devil women split last weekend’s double dual meets in Taishoff, defeating No. 23 Florida State (192.5-160.5) and falling to Virginia Tech (214-139). The men featured a number of strong individual performances but came up short against the 20th-ranked Seminoles (208-145) and the 19th-ranked Hokies (209-144).
In the pool, senior Verity Abel swept the women’s distance events while sophomore Alyssa Marsh was a double winner with first-place showings in the 50-yard freestyle and the 100 butterfly. Freshman Connie Dean impressed in her Duke debut with second-place finishes in three events. Junior Maddie Hess notched an NCAA provisional cut in the 200 backstroke (1:58.43), as did Max St. George in the 100 backstroke (47.95). The Blue Devils also were successful in relay events, sweeping the 200 medley relays and adding a win in the men’s 400 medley relay.
On the boards, junior Evan Moretti won the men’s three-meter springboard competition with an ACC leading award of 390.65 and was second on the one-meter board.
St. George’s 47.95 mark in the 100 backstroke puts him first in the ACC and fifth in the nation heading into the weekend, while Abel’s 10:03.00 clocking in the 1,000 freestyle ranks her 16th in the country. Hess is also top 20 nationally in the 200 backstroke and the Blue Devils’ 400 medley relay of St. George, Judd Howard, Yusuke Legard and Miles Williams is fifth in the country (3:16.24).
Scouting the Wolfpack
Series History: Men-NC State leads, 65-13; Women-NC State leads, 33-3
Last Time We Met: Men-L, 177-115 (11/8/13, Raleigh, N.C.); Women-L, 177-123 (10/29/16, Durham, N.C.)
NC State 2017 ACC Finish: Men-1st; Women-1st
NC State 2017 NCAA Finish: Men-4th; Women-7th
NC State kicks off its season Friday night in Raleigh after sweeping the 2017 ACC titles and earning a pair of top-eight finishes at the 2017 NCAA Championships. The Wolfpack men return Ryan Held, a gold medalist at the 2016 Rio Olympics, as well as standouts Justin Ress, Andreas Vazaios, Anton Ipsen, Coleman Stewart and diver James Brady. The women’s team captured the ACC title for the first time since 1980 last spring, and returns veterans Hannah Moore, Elise Haan, Courtney Caldwell, Ky-lee Perry and Madeline Kline from that team.
Scouting the Nittany Lions
Series History: First Meeting
Penn State 2017 Big Ten Finish: Men-7th; Women-8th
Penn State 2017 NCAA Finish: Men-28th; Women-36th
The Penn State men were just edged by No. 22 Virginia, 151-149, in the Lions’ season opener last weekend in University Park. The women’s team also fell to the Cavaliers by a 184-104 margin. Kalean Freund claimed Big Ten Men’s Swimmer of the Week accolades after posting the nation’s top 100 breaststroke time so far this season at 54.20, while on the women’s side, Jane Donahue earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week recognition with three top-four finishes in her Penn State debut.
Friday’s events in Raleigh begin with the 200 medley relay, followed by the 1,000 freestyle, 200 freestyle, 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke, 200 butterfly and 50 freestyle prior to the first diving break. Swimming events continue with the 100 freestyle, 200 backstroke, 200 breaststroke, 500 freestyle and 100 butterfly, followed by another diving break, and then the 200 individual medley and 400 freestyle relay.
“NC State has really done a great job over the last several years, and they’re an incredibly well-balanced team,” said head coach Dan Colella. “Penn State absolutely has some folks who are highlighting events in mid-distance. Against NC State, our goal is to race them incredibly hard … Penn State, I think that’s a program that’s going to be very competitive with us.”