Duke swimming and diving is returning with a vengeance.
With multiple school record holders, top-10 all-time performers returning and a strong freshmen class, this season could be a special one for the Blue Devils, with their season starting Friday against Virginia Tech.
New swimmer/diver to watch
Men’s: Evan Greer
Greer is a two-time Summer Nationals qualifier in the 100-yard and 200-yard backstroke, and his talent has already shined at Duke. During Duke’s Blue vs. White intrasquad meet last weekend, Greer tagged along with three upperclassmen to win the men’s 400 medley relay, becoming the only freshman from the men’s side to win an event at the meet. As he gets more racing experience for the Blue Devils, expect him to keep progressing throughout the season.
Women’s: Margo O’Meara
O’Meara is a diver who has been making waves since before joining the Blue Devils. This August, she won two gold medals in the one and three-meter springboard events in the USA Diving Junior National Championship. With a history of success at the national level, she will likely be a huge boon to the Duke swim/dive team.
Returning swimmer/diver to watch
Men’s: Cole Reznick
Reznick was just elected as one of the swim/dive captains, and it’s not difficult to see why. The senior was voted the team's most valuable athlete last year, has made ACC finals three times and won three individual events (50-yard breaststroke, 100-yard medley, 150-yard breaststroke) in the aforementioned Blue vs. White meet across multiple strokes. His leadership and experience will impress all Blue Devil swim fans.
Women’s: Sarah Foley
Although it is only Foley’s second season at Duke, her first one was absolutely spectacular, including a Duke record in the 200-yard breaststroke and becoming an NCAA A finalist in the 200-yard breaststroke as just a freshman. With the first or second fastest performances in program history across three individual events, Foley is primed to have a banner season and challenge some school records.
Most anticipated meets
Wolfpack Invitational, Nov. 18-20
The Wolfpack Invitational will be hosted in the Greensboro Aquatic Center, the venue that hosted the spring NCAA championships, and will feature some of the country’s best swim/dive programs including Stanford, N.C. State and Army. According to head coach Dan Colella, this meet “will be a good indication of what [the team] is capable of doing…[during] the back half of the season.”
Queens University of Charlotte and Tennessee, both Jan. 8
This meet will not only be the first home meet after the holidays, but the first swim/dive home meet in two months, following a duel with Georgia Tech in early November. Colella notes that Duke has never had a meet against Tennessee during the time he’s been head coach—a position he’s held for 17 years, and one he took by leaving a position at Tennessee. With a refreshed squad after the holidays, and a coach facing off against his old team, expect this meet to be an exciting one.
Best case scenario
Colella believes that while predicting the outcome of team events is difficult, the relays may have a bigger chance for success, highlighting the strength of the Blue Devils as a whole. The women are currently ranked No. 24 in the CSCAA preseason poll while the men are not ranked, but both teams reached program highs of 11th and 15th, respectively, in fall 2019 just before the pandemic. Expect these teams to challenge these records.
Worst case scenario
Because of the pandemic, this team may not have as much collegiate racing experience as expected, and it start its season with a difficult foe—Virginia Tech’s women’s team is ranked higher than Duke’s at No. 18 in the CSCAA preseason poll, while the Hokie men are ranked No. 12 compared to Duke sitting outside the top 25. Last year, the meet was close—the men lost by 50 points while the women tied. However, if a more lopsided women’s performance in Virginia Tech’s favor were to happen, the Blue Devils may not start off the season with the bang they had hoped. This could potentially lead to them becoming unranked and losing morale heading into their busiest part of the season, with four meets coming up in October.
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Babu Chatterjee is a Trinity junior and sports staff reporter for The Chronicle's 117th volume.