DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke swimming and diving squads round out dual meet action at home in Taishoff Aquatics Pavilion Saturday, hosting North Carolina at 1 p.m. Diving events begin at 11:30 a.m., followed by the Blue Devils’ Senior Day ceremony at 12:40 p.m.
A parking and traffic alert will be in place Saturday due to multiple athletic events on campus. General public parking for fans attending the meet against the Tar Heels will be available in the Jogging Trail Lot, located on 751/Cameron Blvd., and the Small Circuit Lot, located on Circuit Drive, beginning at 8 a.m. There will be a $10 charge for all parking – CASH ONLY. Parking for guests with disabilities will be available in the Blue Zone B-5 lot, which can be accessed from Towerview Road.
Prior to the start of Saturday’s dual meet, Duke will celebrate the 11 members of its senior class. The class includes Verity Abel, Nick Bigot, Lizzie Devitt, Leah Goldman, Matt Johnson, Catie Miller, Isabella Paez, Alex Peña, Anna Quinn, Maria Sheridan and MaryEllen Targonski.
“This is a senior class that has been really impactful on this program over the course of four years,” said head coach Dan Colella. “Every year, we’re developing and creating an even better culture. This group has contributed a lot to that over the course of their four years. They’re extremely excited about competing Saturday. It being UNC is a great way to finish up their dual meet career here at Duke. We would love nothing more than to send them off in style.”
Last Time Out
The Blue Devil swimmers returned to action for the first time in 2018 on Jan. 12, traveling to Charlotte, N.C., to take on the reigning NCAA Division II national champions in Queens University of Charlotte. The Duke teams split action with the Royals, as the women came away with a 158-103 victory and the men were defeated by a narrow 139-123 margin.
The Blue Devil women featured a quartet of double individual event winners on the night in freshman Connie Dean and seniors Abel, Devitt and Goldman. Junior Maddie Hess, Dean, Paez and Goldman teamed up to take the opening event of the meet, the 200-yard medley relay. Hess went on to finish first in the 100 backstroke, as did Paez in the 200 butterfly.
The Blue Devil men received contributions from a variety of swimmers, beginning with Johnson, who won the 1,000 freestyle to kick off the individual events. Sophomores Miles Williams and Sheldon Boboff went one-two in the 200 freestyle before junior Yusuke Legard was first to the wall in the 50 freestyle.
A Look at Duke
Duke’s women (3-3, 1-3 ACC) were tabbed No. 31 and the men (0-6, 0-4 ACC) No. 41 in CollegeSwimming’s Dual Meet and Championship Top 50 this week.
Juniors Judd Howard (53.95) and Sean Tate (54.43) enter the final dual meet of the season ranked sixth and ninth, respectively, in the ACC in the 100 breaststroke. Howard also owns the conference’s ninth-fastest mark to date in the 200 breaststroke (1:57.73) while classmate Max St. George is eighth in the conference and tied for 32nd nationally in the 100 backstroke (46.73). St. George, Howard, Williams and Tate form the ACC’s sixth-ranked 400 medley relay so far this year at 3:13.33.
The Blue Devil women feature three of the conference’s top performers in the 100 butterfly in Goldman (51.80), sophomore Alyssa Marsh (52.10) and sophomore Kylie Jordan (52.63). Marsh is also among the ACC leaders in the 50 (22.35) and 100 freestyle (48.63) and the 100 backstroke (53.07), while Abel is fifth in the 500 freestyle (4:43.53) and eighth at the 1,650-yard distance (16:18.96). Another Duke senior, Paez, owns the league’s fourth-fastest time to date in the 200 butterfly (1:56.20). Goldman (1:57.72) and Devitt (4:15.10) also rank among the ACC’s top performers in the 200 and 400 individual medley events.
In addition, Goldman is tied for 10th nationally in the 100 butterfly and Marsh tied for 26th in the country in the 50 freestyle.
Marsh, Goldman, Jordan and Abel clocked the fourth-fastest 800 freestyle relay mark (7:12.62) in the conference during the fall at the Tennessee Invitational.
In diving, junior Evan Moretti continues to rank among the league’s top seven divers on the three (390.65) and one-meter (360.75) springboards while sophomore Nathaniel Hernandez has recorded the ACC’s sixth-best award to date on the platform (355.70).
Last year’s meeting with North Carolina saw the women defeat the Tar Heels head-to-head for the first time in program history and the men earn a victory over their Tobacco Road rivals for the first time since 1939.
Scouting the Tar Heels
Series History: Men-North Carolina leads, 73-4; Women-North Carolina leads, 38-1
Last Time We Met (1/28/17, Chapel Hill, N.C.): Men-W, 173-126; Women-W, 163-137
North Carolina 2017 ACC Finish: Men-7th; Women-4th
North Carolina 2017 NCAA Finish: Men-36th; Women-17th
The North Carolina women head into the weekend tied for 20th in the Jan. 17 edition of the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Division I rankings and sit 4-3 overall and 1-1 in ACC action. The Tar Heel men are 3-4 overall and 1-1 against league foes, with both squads set to face NC State Friday night in Chapel Hill.
North Carolina’s Caroline Baldwin paces the ACC with the conference’s top time in the 50 freestyle (21.48) and is also second in the 100 freestyle (47.14) and 100 backstroke (51.95). Teammate Caroline Hauder ranks among the league’s top performers in the 100 breaststroke (1:00.27) and the 200 individual medley (1:57.37).
On the men’s side, Valdas Abaliksta owns the ACC’s third-fastest mark to date in the 100 breaststroke (53.29).
“This is our last opportunity to race a team head-to-head,” Colella said. “It being UNC always makes it more exciting. Last year, to come away with two victories has got our team hungry to finish up dual meet season on a high note. It’s going to be a great day of racing and diving. Both teams have a lot at stake in terms of the Duke-UNC rivalry. I think that just raises the bar.”