Many coaches and athletes hate to classify losses to superior squads as moral victories. After a dual swimming and diving meet against North Carolina, however, Blue Devils coach Dan Colella said that he saw positive signs despite the men's 208-86 loss and women losing, 190-106.
"The final score unfortunately didn't show that we actually had a pretty good meet tonight," Colella said. "UNC is one of the top programs in the ACC and for us, one of our objectives was to really begin to swim these guys hard. We were competitive in a number of races tonight."
The top performer on the Duke women's squad (4-3, 1-3 in the ACC) was senior Katie Ness, one of the team's most consistent swimmers on the season. Ness won both the 100- and 200-meter butterfly events with times of 56.04 and 2:04.38, respectively. It was the first time this season Ness competed in two butterfly events in the same meet.
Junior Jackie Rodriguez also won a race for the women against the No. 22 Tar Heels (3-1, 1-0). She took the 200 breaststroke in 2:22.14. In addition, Rodriguez placed second in her first 200 Individual Medley race this season.
There were also two winners for the men's squad (2-3, 1-2). Junior Kevin Arthofer claimed the 100 breaststroke in 58.55 and placed second in the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:11.16 against the No. 22 Tar Heels (2-2, 1-0). Senior Billy Pearce continued his recent string of strong performances, winning the 200 backstroke in 1:53.91, his first individual victory of the year.
"We walked away from this evening with some good performances," Colella said. "We realize that these are the types of teams that we're going to be competing (against) the second half of the season. I was proud of the way we stood up and raced."
In contrast to the positive signs stemming from the swimming competition, Duke's divers did little to compete on the same level as their UNC counterparts. Not one women's diver placed in the top five for the Blue Devils, and freshman Nick Campisano led the men's effort with fourth-place finishes in both the one meter and three meter competitions.
Also a negative, according to Colella, was the absence of excitement throughout the night.
"I think that the energy that was on the sidelines when we competed this past Saturday wasn't there," Colella said. "That's something we need to work on, and we need to have that kind of energy every time we go into competition."
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