DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke swimming and diving program celebrated the successes of the 2017-18 campaign Monday evening at the team’s annual awards banquet.
The Duke coaching staff and swimmers and divers highlighted athletic and academic accomplishments from the course of the season and honored the program’s 11 seniors – Verity Abel, Nick Bigot, Lizzie Devitt, Leah Goldman, Matt Johnson, Catie Miller, Isabella Paez, Alex Peña, Anna Quinn, Maria Sheridan and MaryEllen Targonski.
Several Blue Devils were selected for team awards in recognition of their athletic excellence and leadership throughout the season.
Goldman and junior Judd Howard received awards for the Most Outstanding Performances by Blue Devil swimmers for their efforts at the 2018 ACC Championships. Making her second career appearance in the 200 individual medley ‘A’ final, Goldman brought the outside smoke from lane one to secure her first individual conference title. The Burlingame, Calif., native became the second 200 individual medley ACC champion in program history and was Duke’s first individual ACC swimming champion on the women’s side since 2011. Howard earned spots in the 100 and 200 breaststroke championship finals, finishing sixth at the 100-yard distance and eighth in the 200-yard race, while moving into the top three on Duke’s all-time performance list in both events. The junior from Irvine, Calif., was also 13th in the 200 individual medley.
The awards for Most Outstanding Diving Performances went to Targonski and sophomore Nathaniel Hernandez, both of whom excelled on the platform at the NCAA Championships. Targonski captured honorable mention All-America accolades on the platform for the second consecutive year, wrapping up her senior campaign with a 16th-place finish at the national meet. She joined Abby Johnston as the only repeat All-American divers in women’s program history. Hernandez claimed the first All-America honors of his career, placing 12th overall for honorable mention distinction. He became the fourth diver in men’s program history to garner All-America status, joining John C. Connor, Nick McCrory and teammate Evan Moretti.
Devitt and Moretti took home the Blue Devils’ Above and Beyond Awards, receiving recognition for performing above and beyond the expectations of the coaching staff in and out of the pool. Their contributions in training and in competition were considered instrumental to the success of the women’s and men’s squads this season. Both Devitt and Moretti concluded their seasons at the NCAA Championships, with Devitt making her first career appearance at the national meet and Moretti collecting the second honorable mention accolades of his career. Devitt also finished fifth in the 400 individual medley at her final ACC Championships.
Paez and junior Riley Hickman were named recipients of the Blue Devil Award, an all-encompassing honor that celebrates excellence and leadership in the pool, in the classroom and in the community. Paez made her third career appearance at the NCAA Championships this spring, racing to a top-20 finish in the 200 butterfly. She also spearheaded Duke’s Swimming with the Blue Devils initiative, a free water safety clinic open to children in the Durham community. A team captain during the 2017-18 season, Hickman scored for the Blue Devils at the ACC Championships with a 24th-place showing in the 1,650 freestyle. He was also active in the Swimming with the Blue Devils clinics this year.
The Most Valuable Athlete Awards went to Goldman and Moretti for their performances throughout the season. Both Blue Devils, along with Hernandez and Targonski, were recognized as 2018 All-Americans, with Goldman also being honored for her individual ACC title in the 200 individual and Targonski for her 2018 ACC Women’s Diver of the Year award.
Both the men’s and women’s teams were represented at the 2018 NCAA Championships, with the men tying for 33rd and the women tying for 42nd in the final team standings.