GREENSBORO, N.C. – Junior Max St. George broke the school record in the 100-yard backstroke three times and classmate Judd Howard earned a spot in the 100 breaststroke championship final to highlight an action-packed day at the 2018 ACC Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships.
Behind five finals swims and a relay performance that ranked among the fastest in program history, Duke enters the final day of the conference meet eighth in the team standings with 418 points.
The Blue Devils opened the night with a pair of swims in the 200 freestyle finals. After breaking the school record in the event Wednesday evening on Duke’s 800 freestyle relay, sophomore Miles Williams placed third in the consolation final and 11th overall at 1:35.34 Friday evening. Sheldon Boboff finished third in the bonus final and 19th overall, dropping time from his preliminaries performance with a mark of 1:36.17 – good for the second-fastest in school history.
“Miles has been impressive all season long,” said head coach Dan Colella. “He’s come in with a different approach to his training this year, and there’s no question he’s seeing the results. I know ACCs last year was a great learning experience for him. He’s definitely seeing what he’s capable of and we’re looking forward to the 100 free tomorrow. Sheldon Boboff also had a great 200 freestyle tonight.”
Howard advanced to the 100 breaststroke championship final for the first time in his career, finishing strong to touch at 53.18 for sixth. During the morning session, he raced to the wall in 52.95 to rank third on the Blue Devils’ all-time performance list.
“Making the championship final is something Judd has really wanted to do the last couple years,” Colella said. “To make it to the ‘A’ final was a result of a lot of hard work this season. He’s just on fire right now. He’s had two monster swims – the 200 IM and 100 breaststroke. He’s got the 200 breaststroke, which might be his best event, tomorrow.”
Junior Sean Tate joined Howard in the event finals, moving up to seventh on the all-time top 10 with a time of 53.73. That placed him 16th in the conference.
“Sean has been a freestyler for our program the last couple years and we converted him to a breaststroker here in the last five months,” Colella said. “So for him to go 53.7 tonight was a testament to the hard work he’s put in this season.”
St. George reached the 100 backstroke consolation final for the third consecutive season after breaking his own school record of 46.73 during preliminaries with a 46.53 clocking. The Wheaton, Ill., native lowered the program benchmark again Friday evening, winning the ‘B’ final at 46.48.
St. George then broke his own record for a third time on the day, leading off Duke’s 400 medley relay with a 46.27 split. Howard, junior Yusuke Legard and Tate joined St. George in garnering an eighth-place performance at 3:11.23 – a time that ranked fourth in program history.
“To be able to swim that three times and break the record each time is quite an accomplishment,” Colella said of St. George. “There were a couple things this morning in his swim that needed to be tweaked and he made those adjustments tonight and went faster. I think he got even more confidence after that finals swim and came back and had the opportunity to represent Duke on that relay. And once again, dropped another couple of tenths. Just a great, great day of swimming for Max St. George.”
Junior Riley Hickman moved into the top 10 on the Blue Devils’ all-time performance list in the 400 individual medley preliminaries, earning a top-30 finish at 3:55.51. Senior Matt Johnson also placed inside the top 30 with a 3:58.15 swim.
The Blue Devils round out competition at the 2018 ACC Championships Saturday. Events on the final day include the 200 backstroke, 100 freestyle, 200 breaststroke, 200 butterfly, 1,650 freestyle and the 400 freestyle relay. Preliminaries begin at 10 a.m., followed by finals at 6 p.m. on ACC Network Extra. Live results will also be available.
1) NC State 1020 2) Louisville 802.5 3) Notre Dame 624 4) Virginia 598.5 5) Florida State 583.5 6) Virginia Tech 484.5 7) North Carolina 451 8) Duke 418 9) Georgia Tech 276 10) Pitt 231 11) Boston College 102 12) Miami 34
Top Duke Finishers by Event:
Men’s 100-Yard Butterfly: Noah Stevens (34th), 49.05
Men’s 400-Yard Individual Medley: Riley Hickman (27th), 3:55.51
Men’s 200-Yard Freestyle: Miles Williams (11th), 1:35.34
Men’s 100-Yard Breaststroke: Judd Howard (6th), 53.18
Men’s 100-Yard Backstroke: Max St. George (9th), 46.48
Men’s 400-Yard Medley Relay: Max St. George, Judd Howard, Yusuke Legard, Sean Tate (8th), 3:11.23