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Duke swimming wraps up semester by dominating Division II Queens University in dual meet

<p>The Blue Devils took home first-place finishes in 18 of 24 individual events this weekend.&nbsp;</p>

The Blue Devils took home first-place finishes in 18 of 24 individual events this weekend. 

Coming off a third place showing against a top ACC program in N.C. State, Duke looked to end the calendar year on a high note in a dual meet at Division II Queens University of Charlotte.

After winning by double-digit margins, the Blue Devil men and women did just that.

Duke swept through the competition at the Royals’ Levine Center Pool in Charlotte, taking home first-place finishes in 18 of 24 individual events and sweeping all four relay events. Led by freshman Alyssa Marsh in relays and freestyle events, the 20th-ranked Blue Devil women posted a 169.5-87 victory, and strong performances from sophomore Max St. George and senior Dylan Payne pushed the men’s team ahead 146-111.

“We challenged [our athletes], regardless of the score,” Duke head coach Dan Colella told GoDuke.com. “If the score started to be a situation where we were pulling ahead a little bit, we made sure we didn't take the foot off the pedal. We just kept on racing hard.”

Both Blue Devil teams dominated the relays. 

In the 200-yard medley relay., Duke’s women’s A squad of Marsh, senior Ashleigh Shanley, junior Leah Goldman and sophomore Hunter Aitchison posted a 1:43.40 time to beat out Queens University’s A squad by one second. Close behind was the Blue Devils’ B team, posting a third-place finish just 0.01 seconds behind the Royals.

Duke’s men’s A squad of senior Kaz Takabayashi, senior Peter Kropp, senior Michael Miller, and senior Michael Seaberg won the 200-yard medley with a 1:29.60 time, also pulling ahead of Queens University’s A squad by a second. The Blue Devils swept third through fifth with their B, C, and D squads, with the D team upsetting the C team winning out by a 1:32.33 to 1:33.27 margin for fourth.

In the 200-yard freestyle relay, Duke’s women’s A squad of sophomore Maddie Hess, freshman Kira Page, junior Anna Quinn, and Marsh posted the fastest time of the event with a 1:34.60. The men’s A squad of sophomore Sean Tate, freshman Miles Williams, Seaberg, and Payne won the same event in a race that came down to last leg. But thanks to a breakout split of 20.11, the Blue Devils managed to post a winning 1:21.81 time.

“We mixed up some of the relays,” Colella said. “They did a great job, especially in that last men's 200 free relay. It came down to the last leg and Dylan Payne had a really monstrous split, same with Alyssa Marsh on the women's side. Going into the last leg they were ahead, and both Dylan and Alyssa had super anchored swims and did a great job of getting it done and winning both relays. It was a great way to finish up.”

In individual events, Duke also shined.

On the men’s side, St. George and Kropp both posted NCAA ‘B’ cut times, with Kropp posting a 55.01 time in the 100-yard breaststroke and St. George going out with a 1:46.05 in the 200-yard backstroke. 

The Blue Devils (4-1) also took home first-place medals in the 1,000-yard freestyle, 200-yard butterfly, 100-yard freestyle, and 200-yard breastroke from junior Matt Johnson, Takabayashi, senior Bradley Cline, and sophomore Judd Howard. Payne won the 100-yard butterfly in 49.17, putting up the 10th-fastest mark in that event in program history.

With the women’s team, Duke (4-1) continued to dominate. In the 200-yard butterfly, the Blue Devils took all of the top four slots. Senior Colleen Wixted led with a time of 2:03.54, followed by Quinn just an arm's length away with a tie of 2:03.88. Freshman Kylie Jordan snagged third at 2:04.38 and Goldman came in fourth for 2:04.96. The closest Royal was almost a second behind at 2:05.72.

Duke’s women’s team continued to see sweeps all day, taking the top four places in the 100-yard freestyle and 200-yard backstroke, led by Marsh and sophomore Mickayla Hinkle. The Blue Devils also shut out first through third placings in the 200-yard individual medley and 500-yard freestyle led by Aitchison and junior Verity Abel.

Freshman Brittany Kampfer took home a win in the 1,000 yard freestyle at 10:16.76, senior Brittany Friese dominated the 200-yard freestyle in 1:50.11, Shanley won the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:03.59, Jordan topped the 100-yard butterfly at 55.72 and Abel finished on top of the 500-yard freestyle field in 4:57.23.

“It was a really a great opportunity,” Colella said. “A lot of times after we do our fall invite we don't compete until January… There is nothing that really totally simulates competition. For us to be able to come down and race when we normally don't at this time of year was a really great thing for us. It helps to keep them focused and keep them motivated so it isn't just train train train.”

With the Queens University meet now behind it, Duke has officially closed out its calendar year for the swimming season. 

At the start of next semester, the Blue Devils will travel to swim against South Carolina in another dual meet Jan. 14. Duke will not see another large-scale meet until Feb. 3 at the Janis Hape Dowd Nike Cup.

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