INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Senior Peter Kropp captured first team All-America honors with a top-eight finish in the 100-yard breaststroke Friday at the 2017 NCAA Championships.
“It was a great, great day for the Blue Devils,” said head coach Dan Colella. “Peter Kropp, his goal has been to make that ‘A’ final and to get in there in eighth place this morning and then come back tonight and move up another spot is fantastic. It was great to see him, in his last 100 breaststroke, finish on the podium. The last couple years, we’ve fallen short of making it back at night so to make it back in the ‘A’ final tonight was really exciting.”
After rounding out his final ACC Championships with all-conference laurels in the same event last month in Atlanta, Kropp carried that momentum into the final meet of his collegiate career. He was eighth overall in preliminaries at 52.06, earning a spot in Friday evening’s championship final.
The event final saw Kropp touch seventh in 51.90, solidifying the first individual All-America accolades of his career. He claimed honorable mention All-America honors last season as a member of Duke’s 200 medley relay. With the performance, Kropp joined Piotr Safronczyk, as the only Duke All-Americans in the 100 breaststroke, with Safronczyk garnering honorable mention recognition at the 2012 NCAA meet. Kropp also joined an elite group at Duke, becoming the eighth individual All-American in men’s program history.
Senior Dylan Payne made his NCAA debut Friday, joining Kropp in the 100 breaststroke trials. Payne clocked in at 52.87 to earn a top-30 finish in 28th. Payne was a championship finalist in the event at this year’s ACC Championships, taking sixth in the field. He concluded his Duke career ranked second on the program’s all-time performance list in the 100 breaststroke (52.61) and 10th in the 100 butterfly (48.92).
“We’re very proud of Dylan, making it to NCAAs as a senior and having a great performance this morning,” Colella said. “It’s really exciting for him to have achieved this goal and finish up his swimming career here in Indianapolis.”
Also in action Friday was sophomore Evan Moretti, who represented the Blue Devils in three-meter springboard diving. A day after placing 24th on the one-meter board, Moretti turned in a 20th-place performance at the three-meter height with an award of 336.30.
Moretti, who hails from Scarsdale, N.Y., garnered 6.5s and 7s from the judges on his second dive, a forward 2 ½ somersault with one twist. He topped the 60-point mark again in the fourth round, moving him into All-America contention, before scoring 38.50 points on his fifth dive, a reverse 3 ½ somersault. Moretti wrapped up the round with a solid 67.50 points on his inward 2 ½ somersault to earn a second top-25 finish at the NCAA Championships.
“For Evan to be at NCAAs again this year, that in itself is a great accomplishment,” Colella said. “He was very consistent and just had one dive that didn’t quite go his way, but we’re proud of what he’s achieved over the course of the season.”
Kropp returns to the water Saturday to compete in the 200 breaststroke, while freshman Nathaniel Hernandez will make his first NCAA Championships appearance in the platform diving event. Swimming preliminaries begin at 10 a.m. on NCAA.com, followed by diving at 12 p.m. and evening finals at 6 p.m. on ESPN3.