After covering both coasts in the span of four weeks, the Blue Devils will travel to the waters up north in search of a signature victory.
Duke heads to Bloomington, Ind., this weekend to race No. 14 Indiana, No. 17 Notre Dame and Navy at the eighth annual Dale England Cup. The Blue Devils expect to compete in the 2V8, V4 and V8 races across both Friday and Saturday. The trip to the Midwest marks one of the last two races for the team with only the Princeton Dual remaining before the ACC championships May 13.
“This weekend will be a good test for us,” Duke head coach Megan Cooke Carcagno said. “We take on Indiana [and] Notre Dame. If we compete well against these two teams then we are in good position for NCAAs. If not, then we go to ACCs and try to continue figuring things out.”
Duke will face ranked competition for the third straight race after facing stiff challenges from then-No. 9 Stanford and then-No. 3 Virginia in the Pac-12 Challenge and Virginia Duals, respectively. Although the young Blue Devils have not registered a victory against their top-10 opponents this season, the team has seen first-hand what it takes to topple some of the best in the country. A more experienced Cavalier crew beat the Duke V8 team by more than 20 seconds, managing to navigate difficult weather conditions en route to a commanding victory as the Blue Devils struggled to cross the finish line.
“I think the team took a lot away from Virginia,” Cooke Carcagno said. “We saw their level of fitness and preparation, and we watched them execute on a 2,000-meter race, something that we as a team have to learn how to do. They didn’t slow down on account of the weather. You don’t always have perfect conditions and they were able to adapt to them.”
Previous setbacks aside, the Blue Devils are trending in the right direction under their first-year head coach. The V4 boat—which includes freshmen Celia Macrae and Julia Weber—has been the bright spot so far this season, beating UCLA and coming within three seconds of Virginia.
No matter the coast or miles traveled, the times have steadily improved for Carcagno's squad and the team will look to continue that trend this weekend.
“Being in the South, we don’t have a ton of competition within an hour or two of us” Carcagno said. “Most times travel as much as we do this time of the year, but we’re working out a ton, so our level of work has stayed consistent. [We] have everything we need if we can manage to execute."