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Strong relays lift Duke to easy win

Less than two minutes into the meet Friday, Duke let Davidson know that it was going to be a long night for the Wildcats at Taishoff Aquatic Center. In front of a home crowd for the first time during the spring semester, the Blue Devils began the night with one-two performances in the medley relay on both the men’s and women’s sides.

“If you set the tone at the beginning, its easier to keep it up,” said sophomore Kevin Arthofer, who swam the second leg of the medley relay for the first-place team.

The Duke men (3-5) and the Duke women (3-5) never relinquished their leads after the opening races. They dominated Davidson for the remainder of the meet, touching the wall first in 23 of the 26 events. The men won 135-70 and the women’s prevailed 119-95.

The meet came between a pair of tough matchups last weekend and a meet against ACC leader Maryland Friday. Assistant Coach Lauren Hancock said Davidson was weaker competition and this was a meet her team should have won.

“We knew we had more depth than their team,” Arthofer said.

Juniors Cooper Moore and Andy Storm took first and second place in the 1,000-yard freestyle, and senior Teddy Helfers and junior Billy Pearce followed with a similar one-two punch in the 200-yard free.

Freshman Matt Rinehart then swam to a first-place finish in the 400-yard IM in a time of 4:13.88, and fellow freshman Ryan Packer captured a win of his own in the 50-yard freestyle.

Divers Tim Hyer, who qualified for the NCAA Zone Diving Championships at the Patriot Invitational in November, and Pattie Frost owned the boards with victories in both the one-meter and three-meter events.

In the women’s races, the trio of Katie Ness, Julia Lewis and Jackie Rodriguez combined for six individual event wins amid a slew of Blue Devil victories.

Although senior David Peck said Friday’s race against in-state competitor Davidson was not one of the team’s more important meets, he also noted that the shortened meet gave people a chance to try new events.

The Blue Devils will not have the luxury of trying new events when they meet Maryland Friday for Senior Night in Durham.

“The men have a better shot, but we don’t expect to win,” Hancock said.

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