Christmas season is nearly upon us, with bells and carols ringing in the new year, but Duke still had one more battle left for the 2022 calendar year. For this outing, the Blue Devils traveled to Charlotte to take on Queens University of Charlotte to close out the first half of the 2022-2023 season.
The Blue Devils walked away from Charlotte with a split result, as Queens proved to be a tough outing for the men, who fell 168-94. On the flip side, the Blue Devil women continued their electric start to the season, staying undefeated after their 165-92 demolition of the Lions.
For Duke, junior Sarah Foley continued to shine, walking away with victories in the 200-yard freestyle (1:49.38) and 200-yard breaststroke (2:14.32), the latter of which she remains undefeated in this season. Freshmen Martina Peroni and Kaelyn Gridley, along with upperclassmen Sarah Snyder, Easop Lee, Yixuan Chang and Aleyna Ozkan, all managed to strike the wall first in their respective events, helping the Blue Devils cement their commanding lead over Queens.
The Duke men (2-2) did not share in the success of the women (4-0) for this outing, walking away without a single individual win on the day. However, the Blue Devil men were not at full strength, with notable absences from senior standout Brad Sanford and backstroke specialist David Chang. Regardless of absences, the Duke men still managed to get the day off to a hot start, with the 200-yard medley relay team of Jack Christian, Cole Reznick, Charlie Gingrich and Coleman Kredich combining for a winning time of 1:29.31 in an event that the Duke men have remained perfect in for dual meets.
Sophomore backstroker Christian is one to watch as Duke looks forward to 2023. Coming off of the recent N.C. State Invite, an event in which Christian posted times that rank him 10th (100-yard backstroke) and eighth (200-yard backstroke) all-time in program history, he seems to be growing into his role as a force for the young Duke men's team. With junior David Chang out for the day, Christian stepped up for the Blue Devils, grabbing third and second in the 100-yard backstroke (50.19) and 200-yard back (1:50.02), respectively.
Of note, the medley relay is becoming a strong suit for both the women and men. Both squads have remained undefeated in the dual meet season, with the women sitting just outside the top 25 fastest times nationwide at 26th.
Duke also sent a small contingent to Greensboro, N.C., during the week to compete in the U.S. Open, a nationwide U.S. swimming championship conducted in the Olympic style (50m) format. Two Blue Devils walked away with 2024 Olympic trials qualifying times (Foley and Gridley), with Gridley walking away with a silver medal and being named the 18 and under U.S. champion in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:08.46).
Taishoff Aquatic Pavillion will be empty for the remainder of 2022, but the Blue Devils will be back in action Jan. 14, 2023, as they host rival N.C. State for a heavyweight ACC matchup.
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