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Blue Devils improve in final fall event

Coming down the final stretch of the the women's 400-yard individual medley final, senior Nora Stupp was neck and neck with two Yale swimmers.

As they approached the wall, Stupp was touched out by her opponents to finish third, within .54 seconds of first place. Despite the disappointing finale, head coach Dan Colella said Stupp's performance was one of the many strong showings for Duke at this weekend's Patriot Invitational.

At the three-day meet, the women's swimming and diving team finished third behind Yale and the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, while the men placed fourth behind Yale, UNC Wilmington and UMBC. Eleven schools swam in both the men's and women's divisions at the meet hosted by George Mason in Fairfax, Va., Nov. 18-20.

"[We were] hoping to be a little higher in the standings, but truthfully we saw some great races," Colella said.

Although the women's team held a slight lead after the first day of competition, Colella said Friday's races were the most difficult but praised the fact that his teams' performances improved over the following two days.

"It's a tough lesson, but an important lesson to learn going into the ACC Championships," Colella said of his team's ability to regroup.

Freshman Emily Kelly swam a personal-best time in the 500-meter freestyle to finish third, and senior Katie Ness took Saturday's 100-meter butterfly.

"Katie swam a technically correct race," Colella said. "She took control from the start, led from the first 25 meters and did an absolutely terrific job."

The meet concluded a successful fall season for both teams, and Colella said he will continue to emphasize the same mantra he has throughout the fall: "Focus on the process, and the results will come."

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