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Tar Heels claw past Blue Devils

The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams lost at North Carolina Tuesday, 213-84 and 199-94, respectively. The Blue Devils still came away from Koury Natatorium with a moral victory by winning several events against the perennially contending Tar Heels.

“Knowing UNC is always tough, ranked nationally and in the top two or three in the ACC, we swam really well,” assistant coach Lauren Hancock said. “We had some of the season’s best times, which is good to see before our big meet next weekend.”

Sophomore Jackie Rodriguez was once again the women’s team’s (2-3, 0-3 in the ACC) top performer, winning all three of her events: the 1,000-yard freestyle, 100-yard breaststroke and 200-yard breaststroke.

“Jackie Rodriguez has been a leader on this team since her freshman year and swims well against good competition,” Hancock said.

This relative success was even more inspiring to the team in light of the tough training the swimmers endured in the days leading up to the meet.

“With the hard practices we had this week—we lifted yesterday morning, swam for two hours last night and again this morning for another hour and a half—just the fact that we won some events is exciting,” Hancock said.

Hancock said she was also impressed with junior Katie Ness, who took the 100-yard backstroke and 100-yard butterfly with times of 0:58.08 and 0:58.25.

On the men’s side (1-4, 0-3), sophomore Kevin Arthofer’s 0:58.24 in the 100-yard breaststroke was the best time this year for the Blue Devils and is one of the top 10 times of the season in the ACC. Senior Teddy Helfers also set a Duke season-best in the 200-yard freestyle with a 1:45.92 mark, and junior Billy Pearce won his first start of the season in the 100-yard freestyle.

In the diving competition, senior Tim Hyer paced Duke by finishing third and fourth in the one-meter and three-meter events, respectively.

“We had some wins on both sides, which is nice, and they don’t lay down for us or anything, which is good,” Hancock said. “We just continued our improvement, and each meet we’ve gotten better and better.”

The results against UNC (3-1, 2-0) bode well for the Blue Devils in preparation for the Patriot Invitational, an event beginning Nov. 19 in Fairfax, Va. The Invitational is Duke’s last big chance to make a statement before the ACC Championships in February.

“We’re excited about next weekend, it’s a little bit more our league, and the team morale is definitely at an all-time high,” Hancock said.

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