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Hunter Knight shines in Duke swimming's 7th place finish

The men’s swimming team finished in seventh place for the second straight year at the ACC Championships this past weekend at the Greensboro Aquatic Center. During the four-day meet, the men’s team set four new school records and 14 personal records.

After Nick McCrory became the most decorated diver in ACC history at the diving event last week, junior Hunter Knight led the Duke men in the pool. Collecting the first All-ACC honors of his career with a strong showing in the 100-yard breaststroke, he clocked in at 53.72—giving him a third-place finish and an NCAA provisional-qualifying time.

“I can’t be much happier getting a second- and third-place finish after not ever making the podium [before this year],” Knight said. “Honestly, starting the year out, talking to my coach about my goals for this season, one of them was to definitely get on the podium, and those are my best two events. Basically, that’s what we trained for, something we worked towards, and we figured out what it would take to get up there.”

On the last day of competition, Knight garnered another All ACC-honors with a silver in the 200 breaststroke. He broke 2012 graduate Piotr Safronczyk’s program record with a time of 1:56.78. Knight closed out the meet with the first two medals of his career and four NCAA ‘B’ cuts in breaststroke events. A ‘B’ cut is a provisional qualifying time for the NCAAs.

“Records are made to be broken,” Knight said. “To be able to break that record after it had been established last year was pretty special. It’s obviously one of the school records here and to be one of the top all-time for Duke is something I take pride in.”

Junior Steven Gasparini also broke two school records. After eclipsing the program record with a swim of 1:47.80 in the 200 individual medley preliminaries, he broke his own newly set record Thursday night with a 1:47.65 swim in the same event. Gasprini almost added another program record to his resume, but ended up tying Spencer Booth’s record of 48.17 in the 100 backstroke.

Virginia won the ACC title for the sixth consecutive year with a tally of 759.5 points, while Duke recorded 268 points. The Blue Devils will continue their postseason with the diving team heading to the NCAA Zone Diving Championships March 11 and women and men’s NCAA Championships starting later this month.

“By far this is one of the best ACCs I’ve seen as a team performance,” Knight said. “Just about everyone on the team had better times and moved up in the seedings, scored points when they could and had really excellent spreads. It was great just to go out there and watch each other race, and do great things in the pool.”

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