The Virginia Cavaliers rolled into Durham, North Carolina, and routed the host Duke Blue Devils, though both teams will walk away from the meet with plenty to be happy about as the ACC Championships approach.
For Virginia, the lop-sided victories, which ran to 187.5-98.5 on the women’s side and 178-119 on the men’s (with some exhibitions for the win) was indicative of an overall, and quite significant, advantage in depth over Duke: especially on the men’s side, where a lot of less-familiar faces are carrying a big load for the Cavaliers.
Duke will be able to hang their horns on breaking three Pool Records in the contest, and splitting the relay victories as well.
The Virginia women began the day with an impressive mid-season 3:42.77 in the 400 yard medley relay, beating their own B relay by 5 seconds, and Duke’s by almost 6. That’s the 6th-best 400 medley relay time of the spring semester (including behind one of their own efforts from a week ago).
At the end of the meet, though, it was Duke who would finish with a rousing 1:33.37 in the 200 free relay, with Virginia placing 2nd (1:34.40) and 3rd (1:34.74). That swim for Duke is a new Taishoff Aquatic Pavillion record in the event, and the 9th-fastest swim in Duke history.
In between those two impressive relay performances were a handful of wins for both teams. Versatile Virginia junior Ellen Williamson took the 200 backstroke in a 2:00.29. Significantly, UVA’s German National freshman Laura Simon won the 100 breast in 1:03.88; that was a win without Christine Wixted of Duke: the conference’s best returning breaststroker. Wixted swam only the 400 medley relay at this meet, but those two will be among the favorites for the ACC breaststroke titles in February.
Among the individual winners for Duke include freshman Maddie Rusch, who won the 100 fly in 56.24 ahead of Virginia’s Ellen Thomas (56.27), Shaun Casey (56.39), and Rachel Naurath (56.71).
The men’s meet was really a tale of two parts. The Duke men, led by three teenagers and a huge advantage on the breaststroke leg from Hunter Knight (54.89), won the men’s 400 medley relay in 3:21.08, beating Virginia’s relay that was 3:21.40.
Thanks in part to a 1-2 finish in the men’s 100 breaststroke, Duke actually took a lead out of the first diving break 65-63. That 1-2 finish came from Hunter Knight (55.56) and freshman Peter Kropp (55.60) as both were under the old Pool Record in the event. That’s Kropp’s best time of his college career so far.
See Knight interviewed below:
A part of that was also due to the country’s top collegiate diver, Nick McCrory, who won the 3-meter by more than 40 points over Virginia’s JB Kolod. That score for McCrory was a new Pool Record for McCrory, breaking his own score.
After that break, though, the Virginia men took off in a huge way. They went 1-4 in the men’s 100 free, led by Matthew Lockman (46.12) and David Ingraham (46.18). Freshman Austin Quinn took the win in the 500 free in 4:35.51, and aside from another win by McCrory on the 1-meter, Virginia wouldn’t lose again.
Also scoring big points for Virginia was senior Parker Camp. He won both the 100 back (49.90) and the 200 fly (1:50.33) individually. That’s his first time swimming the 100 back this season.
Virginia closed the meet with a 200 free relay win in 1:23.79, with Camp leading them off in 21.53, followed by Charlie Rommel (21.02), Kyle Dudzkinski (20.69) and Matthew Lockman (20.55).
The Duke women will swim on Saturday against Richmond before both men’s and women’s teams welcome in arch-rivals North Carolina next Saturday. Virginia’s next meet will also be against North Carolina, which is always a heated affair, tomorrow.
Full Meet Results available here.