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Duke breaks eight pool records during busy weekend of competition

The Blue Devils broke eight pool records in their final duals meet of the fall season.
The Blue Devils broke eight pool records in their final duals meet of the fall season.

Duke had no shortage of energy in its final dual meets of the fall semester, giving its strongest performance of the season.

The Blue Devils swept William & Mary, Old Dominion and St. Andrews in back-to-back competitions on the road Friday and Saturday, breaking eight pool records Saturday.

Heading into the meet, Duke focused on keeping up a high energy level through both days of competition after a flat start against Virginia Tech Oct. 26. Despite the lack of warm-up and warm-down space in Williamsburg, Va., the Blue Devils showed no signs of exhaustion the next day.

“We challenged them to be more mentally tough on the second day and they absolutely responded,” head coach Dan Colella said. “The excitement of both medley relays got everything going and spurred everybody on. It was a great way to wrap up before the Nike Cup.”

Duke opened Saturday’s meet with a pair of victories in the 200-yard medley relay and a new Monarchs’ Swimming and Diving Facility record. Sophomores Jessie Sutherland and Ashleigh Shanley gave the Blue Devils the lead on the backstroke and breaststroke legs, freshman Leah Goldman pulled further ahead on the butterfly and sophomore Maddie Rusch brought home the win and the record with the freestyle, touching the wall in 1:44.20.

Seven more pool records fell at the hands of the Duke squad.

Sutherland and Rusch each knocked down an individual facility record. Sutherland touched the wall in 55.85 seconds in the 100-yard backstroke, and Rusch went 55.57 seconds for a season-best time in the 100-yard butterfly.

Freshman Isa Paez broke the facility record in the 200-yard butterfly, touching the wall in 2:00.23—the sixth fastest time on Duke’s all-time performances list.

On the men’s side, sophomore Peter Kropp knocked down records in both the 100- and 200-yard breaststrokes, finishing in 54.18 seconds and 2:01.16.

Sophomores Bradley Cline and Kaz Takabayashi rewrote the backstroke records. Cline clocked a time of 1:51.07 in the 200 yard event. Takabayashi touched the wall in 50.48 seconds in the 100 yards.

Claiming first in 20 of the meet’s 32 events, the Blue Devils cruised to wins on both sides Saturday, defeating both Old Dominion and St. Andrews in the double-dual meet.

Duke faced tough competition the day before at William and Mary Friday in their first sprint-format meet of the season. The Blue Devil roster features depth in the distance events, but the squad welcomed the challenge of only contesting the shorter yardage races.

“We were expecting them to give us a challenge in a number of events, and they did a great job and made it a lot more competitive than we anticipated,” Colella said. “But these events were something we don’t see very often, so the change in format gave a little boost in energy.”

Cline led the Blue Devils to victory against the Tribe Friday, claiming a win in all three of his individual events. He touched the wall in 46.71 seconds in the 100-yard freestyle and 1:41.58 in the 200 yards. Competing in the 100-yard individual medley, Cline earned his third win of the day, touching out William and Mary’s Will Manion by a hundredth of a second with his time of 51.69 seconds.

Three more Blue Devils came away with two individual wins Friday.

Junior David Armstrong was first to the wall in both the 50- and 100-yard butterfly events, clocking 22.57 seconds in the 50 yards and 50.21 seconds in the 100 yards.

The freshman shined on the women’s side. Verity Abel won the 200-yard freestyle in 1:53.25 and the 500-yard freestyle in 5:02.63. Swimming both the 100-yard backstroke and the 100-yard individual medley for the first time this season, Leah Goldman earned two more victories for the Blue Devils. She touched the wall in 57.12 seconds in the backstroke and 57.60 seconds in the medley.

Duke outscored William and Mary 156-106 on the women’s side and 143-119 on the men’s side.

The Blue Devils will have two weeks off from competition to prepare the Nike Cup, their first invitational meet of the semester.

“We will definitely train hard this week to finish off the end of our training cycle,” Colella said. “There are definitely little things we need to work on in the next two weeks to prepare for the Nike Cup because that meet is going to have a lot of great competition.”

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