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Swimming teams down Charleston for first wins of season

It was an up and down weekend for the men's and women's swim teams as both squads earned their first wins of the season over College of Charleston on Saturday, but suffered one-sided losses to Virginia Tech on Sunday.

The women's team (1-6) opened the weekend with a decisive 126-63 win over Charleston at Duke Aquatic Center. The Blue Devils recorded 11 first-place finishes out of 13 events in dominating the competition.

The results were just as one-sided for the men (1-6) as they also won 11 events en route to a 132-60 win.

Sunday's home meet was not so kind to the Duke squads as the Hokies easily dispatched the Blue Devils, 157-81 for the women and 140-103 for the men.

Despite the Sunday's lopsided scores, the Duke teams were happy with the weekend results.

"We felt both meets went really well for us," sophomore Susan Keeler said. "We're coming off training for two weeks in Florida, making it tough to come back and swim your best times. But I thought everybody did a good job of doing that."

That intensive training in the sunshine state, which ran from Dec. 29 - Jan. 12 with just one day off, left most of the Duke swimmers still feeling the effects Saturday, and even more so on Sunday.

The lone individual event winners for the Duke women against Virginia Tech were Keeler in the 50 m freestyle and Kristin Gardner in the 100 m breastsroke. Duke's 200 m medley relay team of Keeler, Gardner, Betsy Stewart and Jamie Fleming also finished first in 1:52.75.

On the men's side, Blue Devils Jack Newhouse (100 m fly), Brendan McGill (100 m free) and Mark Rotblat (100 m breast) all pulled off individual wins while the Duke 200 m free relay team also won.

"Going in, we knew that we could beat College of Charleston and we knew that Virginia Tech would be tough," Keeler said. "They beat N.C. State, who we lost to earlier this year. Still, you never go into a meet thinking anything other than if we give it our all, we have a shot to win as a team."

Duke did just that Saturday in earning its first win of the season. For the Blue Devil swimmers, however, a team win is simply a bonus to an effort highlighted by numerous low times.

"I think for a team as a whole, a win is nice and encouraging, but we look a lot more at the individual times," Keeler said.

Both Blue Devil squads continue their seasons this Saturday with a home meet against William & Mary at 1 p.m.

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