DURHAM, N.C. – Fresh off of a training trip to Aruba, the Blue Devil swimmers open 2018 with a dual meet at Queens University of Charlotte Friday in Charlotte, N.C. Competition begins at 5 p.m. at the Royals’ Levine Center for Wellness and Recreation.
Last Time Out
The Blue Devil women rounded out the Tennessee Invitational in second place and the men in fourth after three days of competition in Knoxville Nov. 30 through Dec. 2. Senior Isabella Paez turned in a first-place finish in the women’s 200-yard butterfly to highlight a number of strong performances in the pool. Sophomore Alyssa Marsh reset the school record in the 100-yard freestyle, as did senior Lizzie Devitt in the 400 individual medley and junior Max St. George in the men’s 100 backstroke.
Duke also placed four swimmers in the championship final of the women’s 100 butterfly and saw junior Mackenzie Willborn and freshman Teddy Zeng sweep the ACC Diver of the Week awards with top-three finishes in the one-meter, three-meter and platform events.
Blue Devils Escape to Warmer Weather
Duke’s swimmers and divers spent a portion of their holiday break embarking on the program’s annual training trip. While temperatures in Durham dipped into the teens and 20s, the Blue Devil swimmers completed long course training and conditioning in Aruba and the team’s divers headed to Trinidad for their workouts.
“Training trip was awesome,” said head coach Dan Colella. “We were fortunate to be in Aruba during this cold snap back here in Durham. We got a lot accomplished – a lot of training. It’s always fun to do it in the sunshine. We’re in our final push of training, getting ready for the championship season and couldn’t be happier with what we did in Aruba.”
For more on the Blue Devils’ training trips, follow the team on Instagram (@dukeswimdive).
A Look at Duke
Marsh’s school record of 48.63 in the 100 freestyle ranks her seventh in the ACC and 30th nationally entering this weekend’s action. Senior Verity Abel is fifth in the conference in the 500 freestyle (4:43.53), while senior Leah Goldman ranks third (51.80), Marsh fifth (52.10) and sophomore Kylie Jordan seventh (52.63) in the 100 butterfly. Goldman’s mark also ties her for 10th in the country. Paez heads into the weekend with the fourth-fastest 200 butterfly clocking in the ACC at 1:56.20.
Junior Judd Howard owns the sixth-fastest time in the conference in the 100 breaststroke (53.95) and ranks ninth at the 200-yard distance (1:57.73). On the boards, junior Evan Moretti is among the league leaders in one (360.75) and three-meter (390.65) springboard diving while sophomore Nathaniel Hernandez recorded the sixth-best score to date on the platform (355.70).
On the relay front, the Duke women's 800 freestyle relay of Marsh, Goldman, Jordan and Abel went 7:12.62 at the Tennessee Invitational for the fourth-best time in the conference. The men's 400 medley relay of St. George, Howard, sophomore Miles Williams and junior Sean Tate turned in a mark of 3:13.33 to rank sixth in the ACC.
Scouting the Royals
Series History: Men-Duke leads, 4-0; Women-Duke leads, 4-0
Last Time We Met (12/3/16, Charlotte, N.C.): Men-W, 146-111; Women-W, 169.5-87.5
Queens 2017 NCAA Division II Finish: Men-1st; Women-1st
The Blue Devils will face in-state opponent Queens University of Charlotte for the third consecutive season, going up against the reigning Division II national champions. The Royals are coming off of a successful fall, which concluded with both squads picking up their fifth first-place finishes of the season against Catawba Dec. 17.
“Friday will be a great test and a great way to get the spring semester started,” Colella said. “[Queens University of Charlotte head coach] Jeff Dugdale and the Queens program have won a couple of consecutive national championships. They have a very talented group of swimmers so they’re definitely going to test us. We’re going to have to really be ready to compete because I have no doubt Coach Dugdale and his crew are going to be ready to go.”