When the Blue Devils swimming and diving team set a collective goal to win an ACC dual meet at the beginning of the season, it was a goal a long time in the making-the men's team had not won a conference meet in seven years, while the women's streak reached back twelve seasons.
But with the arrival of new head coach Dan Colella from the University of Tennessee and a revamped training routine, the Blue Devils accomplished the previously unthinkable when both the men and women's teams won Saturday.
"The fruits of their hard labor came to fruition this weekend," Colella said. "To do that on the same weekend for both the men and women was exciting."
Behind strong performances from freshman diver Nick Campisano the men defeated the Maryland, 126-115, while senior Katie Ness led the women past Miami, 125.5-117.5. The women even showed improvement in a loss, falling short of defending ACC champion Maryland by just 25 points-a year after losing to the Terps by a 117-point margin.
"You hear people talk about the team effort, and it really was this weekend a huge team effort," Colella said. "Everybody contributed to the wins."
With one goal crossed off the list, the Blue Devils seem poised to tackle their next objectives, which include securing a strong seed in the ACC Championships and having individuals qualify for the NCAA Championships.
To these ends, Colella has instituted a practice schedule that includes more specialized training and a less repetitive routine, which he says the players both enjoy and benefit from.
"It's been a very educational process," Colella said. "They've been really receptive in really learning what it takes to swim fast."
The results of the hard work were on display last weekend when Ness won her third straight 200-meter individual medley, Campisano swept the diving events, and senior Andy Storm captured two individual titles.
Colella insists, however, that his changes are not solely responsible for the recent success. He cites his players' diligence, talent and attitude as being just as important in ending their winless streaks.
"They've been excited since day one," he said. "This team is probably one of the tightest teams I've ever seen. They're super supportive of each other through the good times and the bad."
Get Overtime, all Duke athletics
Signup for our editorially curated, weekly newsletter. Cancel at any time.