Duke Blue Devils to Open New Year at South Carolina

DURHAM, N.C. – The Blue Devil swimming and diving teams will see their first action of the new year Friday when they head to Columbia, S.C., to take on South Carolina in a non-conference dual meet.

 

Blue Devil Men Remain Ranked in National Poll

Coming off of a first-place finish in November’s Nike Cup Invitational, the Duke men remained ranked in the most recent national poll conducted by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) … The Blue Devils checked in at No. 22, joining five other ACC squads in the top 25 (No. 7 Louisville, No. 9 NC State, No. 18 North Carolina, No. 21 Virginia and No. 23 Florida State) … The Duke women were receiving votes in the latest rankings.

 

Johnston, Willborn Impress at Diving Winter Nationals

Former Blue Devil Abby Johnston and Laura Ryan captured gold at the 2015 USA Diving Winter National Championships to qualify for February’s FINA Diving World Cup … The duo won the women’s synchronized 3-meter competition to secure a trip to the World Cup in Rio, where they will have a chance to earn the United States a spot in that event at the 2016 Olympic Games … Johnston will also compete at the World Cup as an individual after taking second in the individual 3-meter competition … Freshman Mackenzie Willborn joined Johnston in Indianapolis for Winter Nationals, earning a spot in the 3-meter finals … She teamed with Grace Cable to finish 11th in the synchronized 3-meter event.

 

Blue Devils Travel West for Swimming Winter Nationals

Four Duke swimmers traveled to Federal Way, Wash., in early December to take part in the 2015 AT&T Winter National Championships … Freshman Yusuke Legard punched his ticket to the 2016 British Olympic Trials in the 50-meter freestyle … Sophomores Isabella Paez and Leah Goldman reached the 100-meter butterfly C final and Paez was eighth in the 200-meter butterfly championship final.

 

Last Time Out

The Duke men emerged victorious at the Nike Cup Invitational for the first time in program history in late November … The women rounded out the final team event of the fall on a high note as well, taking second in the nine-team field … Blue Devil swimmers and divers broke 13 school records and claimed two facility records while collecting first-place finishes in seven individual events and five relays over the course of the three-day meet.

 

A Look at Duke

Junior Peter Kropp continues to rank among the national leaders in the men’s 100 breaststroke with his season-opening clocking of 52.13, while senior Victor Chen is third in the ACC at the 200-yard distance. Kropp and 400 medley relay teammates Kaz Takabayashi, David Armstrong and James Peek are second in the league with their 3:09.20 showing at the Nike Cup Invitational, as are Mike Seaberg, Armstrong, Dylan Payne and Peek in the 200 freestyle relay. The women’s 200 and 400 freestyle relays both rank among the top 10 in the country, and junior Maddie Rusch is ninth nationally and fifth in the ACC in the 50 freestyle (19.79) following the Nike Cup.

 

Scouting the Gamecocks

The South Carolina men enter this week’s competition ranked 19th in the CSCAA Coaches Poll … The Gamecock men took second and the women fourth at the Georgia Tech Invite in late November … Distance swimmers Akaram Mahmoud and Cody Bekemeyer rank among the SEC’s leaders in the 1,000 and 1,650 freestyle while teammate Nils Wich-Glasen is top-10 nationally in the 100 breaststroke (52.63) … On the women’s side, Emma Barksdale boasts NCAA provisional cuts in the 200 breaststroke and the 200 and 400 individual medley and diver Julia Vincent leads the way on the 1-meter (321.15) and 3-meter boards (368.55).

 

Last Time We Met

Hosting South Carolina last January in Taishoff, the Duke women turned in a solid performance wire-to-wire to top the Gamecocks, 165-135 … The victory marked the program’s first over an SEC opponent since 2011 … Jessie Sutherland broke a facility record in the women’s 100 backstroke while Paez and Goldman notched critical first-place finishes in the 100 butterfly and the 200 individual medley down the stretch … Kropp defended his home pool in the 100 breaststroke as the Duke men kept it close but ultimately fell by a 158-136 score.

Swimming news courtesy of Duke Swimming & Diving.

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About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

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