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Tired swimmers lose 3-of-4 duals

In its first meet since a second-place finish at the Patriot Invitational Nov. 21, the Duke men"s swimming and diving team (2-5, 0-3 in the ACC) defeated James Madison 162-80 but dropped the other half of the dual meet to Rutgers by 49 points Saturday. The women"s team (2-5, 0-3) fell to both of its opponents, losing to Rutgers 164.5-77.5 and to Richmond 154-88.

The Blue Devils entered Saturday"s meet tired after a difficult winter workout schedule. The team spent two weeks in Florida, participating in two-a-day practices that assistant coach Lauren Hancock said would prepare them for the ACC Championships. Although the practices may help the Blue Devils later in the season, currently the workouts have left the team in need of rest, according to Hancock.

'We were mentally and physically worn out,' Hancock said of her team"s condition before the meet.

The Duke men took an early lead despite the wear and tear. Tim Hyer won the one-meter diving competition, scoring 263.3. He followed with a second place performance on the three-meter board.

Senior Teddy Helfers continued the Blue Devils" quick start, winning the 1,000-yard freestyle, the first individual event of the day, by more than seven seconds with a time of 9:43.15. He later added another win in the 500-yard freestyle at the end of the meet.

David Peck"s strong showing in the 200-yard backstroke was the last Duke win before Rutgers took control of the meet.

After the first few events, the Blue Devils" exhaustion began to show as Rutgers clawed its way back into the meet by taking first and second in the 200-free, 50-free, 200-IM and 200-fly. Depth also proved to be a problem for Duke as the meet progressed.

'For every one or two guys we have, they had two or three,' Hancock said.

Although Rutgers managed to catch and surpass Duke, James Madison never found a way to recover from the early deficit.

On the women"s side, sophomore Jackie Rodriguez"s season-best time of 10:09.37 in the 1,000-yard freestyle was the highlight of the meet.

The Blue Devils" high-intensity practice schedule before the meet made Rodriguez"s swim more impressive.

'We still expected to compete well, but we didn"t expect to swim season-best times by any means,' Hancock said.

Although the women dropped both of Saturday"s races, Hancock insisted that the losses do not concern her and the rest of the coaching staff.


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