Two freshman butterfliers represented the Blue Devils at the women’s NCAA Championships in Greensboro, N.C.
Leah Goldman and Isabella Paez wrapped up their first season at Duke with impressive swims against a star-studded field, including Olympians Missy Franklin and Simone Manuel. Making their national championship debuts, the duo swam with confidence in the largest and most competitive meet of their careers.
"Leah and Isa did very well as freshmen for their first time at the NCAA Championship," Duke head coach Dan Colella said. "We're very proud of their performances. They competed with confidence.”
Goldman was eligible to compete in the 200-yard individual medley and 100-yard freestyle, events in which she earned a provisional time standard, after she was invited to participate in the national championships with her time of 52.28 seconds in the 100-yard butterfly. Invited to swim the 200-yard butterfly, Paez also competed in the 100-yard distance.
Goldman opened the meet for the Blue Devils Thursday morning in the 200-yard individual medley preliminaries, finishing fifth with a time of 2:00.25—less than two seconds off of her personal best of 1:58.60 from the ACC Championships.
Paez joined Goldman in Friday’s 100-yard butterfly and touched in a career-best time of 53.62 seconds to tie for 49th overall. Goldman—the third-place finisher at the conference championships and the Blue Devil record holder—finished 32nd in 52.86.
In the duo’s final day of competition, Paez swam her signature event, the 200-yard butterfly. After setting the school record in the event at the Georgia Last Chance Meet, The Medley, Fla., native was just off her personal best of 1:56.92 Saturday. Paez touched the wall in 1:57.37 for 32nd overall.
Goldman wrapped up her freshman campaign with Saturday’s 100-yard freestyle, finishing 58th with a time of 49.85 seconds.
Goldman and Paez were two of only six freshmen from the ACC to advance to the NCAA Championships and will look to represent Duke again on a national stage next season, building on their debut campaigns.
“For them to compete with a great sense of confidence, I think it just bodes well for the future,” Colella said. “They're definitely excited to get back here next year and move up and be in a position to score. I think they absolutely had a ball competing at this level."
The Blue Devils will wrap up the season next week in Iowa City, Iowa, sending sophomore Peter Kropp and the 200-yard medley relay to the men’s NCAA Championships. With his automatic qualifying time of 52.02 in the 100-yard breaststroke, Kropp will look to make finals in the event. The sophomore will also compete in the 200-yard breaststroke and 200-yard individual medley, events in which he has reached provisional time standards.
Joining Kropp in the 200-yard medley relay, sophomores James Peek and Kaz Takabayashi and junior David Armstrong will compete at their first national championships.
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