RALEIGH, N.C. – The second weekend of the season saw the Blue Devil swimmers and divers face another tough test Friday in a double dual meet against a pair of top-10 NC State squads and the Penn State men and women out of the Big Ten.
Duke’s women (2-2, 1-2 ACC), ranked 20th in the College Swimming Coaches Association of America Division I poll, split the day with a 159-139 victory over the Lions and a 195-103 setback to the eighth-ranked Wolfpack women. The Blue Devil men (0-4, 0-3 ACC) received several noteworthy individual performances in losses to fifth-ranked NC State and Penn State.
“We challenged the team after last weekend to come in and fight tonight,” said head coach Dan Colella. “We wanted to be able to race our competition and make sure that we beat them to the wall, whether it was fighting for first or fifth place. I think we did that for a number of our races, but it’s an area that we want to continue to work on.”
After the Duke women opened the meet with a second-place showing in the 200-yard medley relay, both squads received a boost from the springboards. Freshman Teddy Zeng captured the first individual win of his collegiate career, besting the field in the men’s three-meter diving competition with a score (385.75) that cracked the Blue Devils’ all-time performance list. Junior Josh Owsiany followed suit in second (324.10) and Zeng was also second on the one-meter board (336.30), as was senior MaryEllen Targonski in the women’s one-meter competition (259.10) and junior Mackenzie Willborn at the three-meter height (282.15).
Another highlight for Duke came in the women’s 200 butterfly, as senior Isabella Paez was first to the wall and the lone swimmer under the two-minute mark at 1:59.38. Sophomore Alyssa Marsh added a pair of second-place finishes in the 50 (23.28) and 100 (50.77) freestyle, while junior Maddie Hess was second in the 100 backstroke (55.21) and third at the 200-yard distance (1:59.67).
“Isa had a huge smile on her face after that 200 fly tonight,” Colella said. “It was probably one of the best 200 fly performances in terms of feel this time of year. She swam a really strategic race and came up with the win.”
Junior Max St. George turned in solid performances while racing against a field of strong backstroke specialists from NC State. The Wheaton, Ill., native was third in the 200 backstroke (1:47.14) and fourth in the 100 (48.12). Sophomore Miles Williams was the top finisher for the Blue Devil men in the 50 freestyle (20.55) and the 100 butterfly (49.69), while the same event on the women’s side featured a second-place showing by senior Leah Goldman (55.35).
“It’s always fun to swim a Big Ten school,” Colella said. “Penn State, we’ve never swum against them before, so it was great to come away with a win on the women’s side. The men swam them really tough as well. NC State, both their men and women are top-10 programs and they performed like top-10 programs … We learned a lot tonight, things to build on. We’re going to continue to do that and get ready for Virginia in two weeks.”
The Blue Devils will next take on ACC opponent Virginia Friday, Nov. 3 in Charlottesville, Va.
NC State Women 195, Duke Women 103
Duke Women 159, Penn State Women 139
NC State Women 185.5, Penn State Women 110.5
NC State Men 179, Duke Men 113
Penn State Men 161.5, Duke Men 138.5
NC State Men 182, Penn State Men 110
Women’s 400-Yard Freestyle Relay: Maddie Hess, Leah Goldman, Hunter Aitchison, Alyssa Marsh (2nd), 3:23.25
Men’s 400-Yard Freestyle Relay: Alex Peña, Miles Williams, Sean Tate, Max St. George (3rd), 3:01.76