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Duke swimming and diving season preview

Freshman Sarah Foley has undoubtedly been the highlight of the early portion of Duke's season.
Freshman Sarah Foley has undoubtedly been the highlight of the early portion of Duke's season.

Overview

Duke swimming and diving boasts a great deal of talent and experience. Freshman Sarah Foley has made an immediate impact for the Blue Devil women, setting a new Duke all-time record in the 200-yard breaststroke in just her second collegiate meet. The Blue Devils also return many of their best swimmers and divers from last season, adding to the team's depth.

However, due to a shortened season and recent postponement, Duke has only two more meets before the ACC Championships in February, and only one more after that before the NCAA Championships in March.

New swimmer/diver to watch

Men’s: Luke Johnson

The Virginia native qualified for the US Open National Championships and the Summer Junior Nationals in the 100-yard butterfly before bringing his talent 200 miles south to Durham. As a freshman this fall, he placed fourth at the UNC “Janis Hape Dowd” Invitational 100-yard butterfly “B” final with a career best time of 48.07. Keep an eye on him as he continues to progress over his years as a Blue Devil.

Women’s: Sarah Foley

Foley has been making a significant impact on the women’s team. Although she has only participated in two collegiate meets, she has already achieved multiple top program times, most notably setting the new program record for the 200-yard breaststroke at the UNC Invitational. With her potential and hard work, there’s no doubt that she will continue to impress the Blue Devil faithful.

Returning swimmer/diver to watch

Men’s: Charlie Gingrich

Following a career-best time of 20.00—placing him seventh all-time at Duke—at the ACC Championships 50-yard freestyle final last season, Gingrich hopes to carry the momentum into his sophomore campaign. In the UNC Invitational, he vaulted himself up to fourth all-time in the 100-yard butterfly with a career-best time of 47.25.

Women’s: Maddi Pullinger

Pullinger led Duke’s divers in both the ACC and the NCAA Zone B championships last year, placing 10th and 13th in the one-meter competition, respectively. In the fall, the junior was named the ACC Diver of the Week after winning both the one-meter and three-meter events against Virginia Tech Nov. 7. 

Most anticipated meets

ACC Championships, Feb. 17-20 (women’s), Feb. 24-27 (men’s)

NCAA Championships, March 17-20 (women’s), March 24-27 (men’s)

Best-case scenario

Currently ranked No. 16 in the country by the CSCAA, the Blue Devil women have the potential to push into the top-5 of the ACC Championships and top-15 at the NCAA Championships. The men currently sit just outside the top-25 rankings, and are more likely to compete for a top-10 finish in the ACC and top-30 nationally. 

However, the uncertainty of this season due to the COVID-19 pandemic makes it difficult to predict whether all the athletes on the team are able to participate in these meets.

Worse-case scenario

Especially with all the unknowns of this season, it is possible for both teams to fall out of the top-10 in the ACC and miss the NCAA Championships, which is limited to 35 teams.

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