Stay Connected with Duke Athletics
Uploaded Ad
Uploaded Ad
article image
Courtesy: Duke Athletics
Maddie Hess
Blue Devil Women Take Aim at NCAA Championships
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 03/20/2019
BDN+ Premium Content
Related Links

DURHAM, N.C. – After achieving the program’s highest national ranking at No. 12 and earning its best finish at the ACC Championships in nearly 40 years, the Blue Devil women are set to close out a historic 2018-19 campaign on the national stage. Twelve Duke swimmers and divers are headed to Austin, Texas to represent the Blue Devils at the 2019 NCAA Championships, which get underway Wednesday evening.

The 12 swimmers and divers in Duke’s NCAA contingent match last year’s squad for the most in program history.

The championship meet begins with the 800-yard freestyle relay Wednesday at 6 p.m. ET at Texas’ Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center. Action continues Thursday through Saturday with preliminaries at 10 a.m. ET and finals at 6 p.m. ET each day.

Ticket information is available here.

On the Air
Finals sessions Friday and Saturday will be broadcast on ESPNU, with finals Wednesday and Thursday evening streaming on ESPN3. Daily preliminaries sessions and diving consolation finals will be streamed on For a complete list of broadcast information, live results links and a schedule of events, visit the championship homepage.

Meet the Team
Five Blue Devil women’s swimmers received NCAA invitations in individual races, including senior and four-time qualifier Maddie Hess. Hess was a championship finalist in both backstroke events at this year’s ACC Championships and owns the program record in the 200 backstroke (1:53.82). Junior Alyssa Marsh is headed to NCAAs for the third time in as many seasons after racing to top-five finishes in the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly at ACCs, while classmate Kylie Jordan will make her second NCAA appearance following a podium finish in the 100 butterfly at the conference meet.

A pair of freshmen – Melissa Pish and Cabell Ann Whitlow – also received invitations to wrap up their first collegiate seasons. Pish is the school record holder in the 200 freestyle (1:45.08) and Whitlow was a championship finalist in the 200 butterfly at her first ACC meet.

Duke qualified four women’s divers to the NCAA Championships, marking a program first, with senior Mackenzie Willborn and junior Jaina Gaudette both securing return trips to the national stage. Senior Lizzie Fitzpatrick and freshman Maddi Pullinger – an All-ACC performer on the one-meter springboard – will make their first NCAA appearances.

Senior Hunter Aitchison, sophomore Halle Morris and freshman Shayna Hollander round out the Blue Devils’ NCAA roster, with all three eligible to compete on Duke relays.

Duke at the NCAA Championships
The Duke women will be represented at the NCAA Championships for the seventh consecutive season and 12th time overall. Historically, Duke women’s swimmers and divers have totaled 13 individual All-America honors under the watch of head coach Dan Colella.

Leah Goldman (100 butterfly) and MaryEllen Targonski (platform diving) both garnered honorable mention All-America accolades to help the Blue Devils tie for 42nd in the final team standings at the 2018 NCAA Championships. The finish marked the highest for the women’s program since 2011.

ACC Championships Recap
A weekend full of milestones for the Blue Devil women’s swimmers and divers was capped by a fifth-place team finish – the highest for the women’s program since 1981 – at the 2019 ACC Championships.

Over four days of action in Greensboro, N.C., the Duke women totaled 764 points, improving upon the team’s score from a year ago, and featured nine school record-breaking performances and two podium finishes. Jordan captured the first All-ACC accolades of her career with a third-place showing in the 100 butterfly. Her performance marked the fifth time in six years a Blue Devil women’s swimmer has raced to all-conference honors in the event. Pullinger followed suit on the final day of competition, claiming All-ACC recognition in one-meter diving.

NCAA Invited Swimmers
Maddie Hess: 50 Free (22.22), 100 Back (52.27), 200 Back (1:53.82)
Kylie Jordan: 100 Fly (51.42)
Alyssa Marsh: 50 Free (22.07), 100 Free (48.27), 100 Fly (51.87)
Melissa Pish: 200 Free (1:45.08)
Cabell Ann Whitlow: 200 Fly (1:55.93)

NCAA Qualified Divers
Lizzie Fitzpatrick – 3M
Jaina Gaudette – Platform
Maddi Pullinger – 1M, 3M
Mackenzie Willborn – 1M, Platform

Eligible Relays – Duke
200 Free Relay (1:28.93)
400 Free Relay (3:15.32)
800 Free Relay (7:05.52)
200 Medley Relay (1:36.77)
400 Medley Relay (3:34.28)