The Duke women were hot right off the bat, winning the first two events to start.
In the 200 free relay, they were the only team under 1:31, posting a 1:29.75. The only split that came through on the results, though, was Maddie Hess‘s 22.79 lead off for Duke’s relay. UNC was second in 1:31.05 with Yale (1:31.17) and NC State (1:31.56) not far behind.
Sophomore Blue Devil Verity Abel took control of the 500 free, winning it in a new lifetime best of 4:47.52, topping open water specialist Eva Fabian of Yale (4:48.66). Abel took nearly a full second off of her previous best, set at last year’s ACC Championships.
NC State hit back next with two straight wins, as Alexia Zevnik dismantled her morning time of 1:58.01 in the 200 IM (she tied her own school record in prelims) to go 1:56.53. Zevnik was the only swimmer under 2 minutes, and she was followed by her teammate Kayla Brumbaum at 2:01.39. Riki Bonnema, meanwhile, muscled out the win in the 50 free (22.05). The defending ACC Champion edged out Duke’s Maddie Rusch (22.14) at the wall.
Yale put together a strong 400 medley relay, topping the field at 3:37.77. That time was enough to push them ahead of Duke, who settled for 2nd at 3:38.20. They were the only teams under 3:40 tonight. Meanwhile, in 3 meter diving, UNC’s Elissa Dawson gave the Tar Heels their lone win with a score of 348.25
The Blue Devil men were dominant tonight, winning both relays and picking up a victory in the 200 IM.
Their 200 free relay was propelled by James Peek‘s 19.02 anchor, as Duke’s 1:18.57 marked the only sub-1:20 team in the field.
Bradley Cline grabbed the W in the 200 IM, his 1:46.97 topping the field. He touched out NC State’s Soeren Dahl (1:47.84), while Duke frosh Judd Howard squeaked ahead of NC State senior Christian McCurdy by a single hundredth. Howard finished third at 1:48.78.
Again, NC State picked up the most individual swims on the night. Anton Ipsen crushed the 500 free, his 4:26 in prelims proving to be just a warm up for finals. He blasted a 4:16.27, finishing almost six seconds ahead of Navy All-American Thomas Duvall (4:26.26).
Sophomore Ryan Held managed to hold off a tight field in the 50 free finals. After Held, Peek, and NC State’s Joe Bonk touched 1-2-3 in prelims at 19.78, 19.79, 19.82, Held crowned himself victor with a 19.87 final. Peek and Bonk again finished very closely behind him, at 19.91 and 19.93, respectively. Notably, it doesn’t look like would-be favorite Simonas Bilis competed at all today.
Duke came back and wrecked the 400 medley relay. They finished at 3:09.20, well ahead of UNC (3:13.66) and NC State (3:14.04). While Peek’s 43.38 anchor was very impressive, Peter Kropp took the cake with a 51.13 breaststroke split. In the wake of Kevin Cordes‘ departure from the NCAA, Kropp is making a case for himself to fill the void as he looks to take the national crown in the 100 in March.
Like the women, UNC’s sole win came in diving. Jack Nyquist took the 1 meter event with a score of 368.75.
DAY 1 SCORES
NC State 402.5
NC State 472
East Carolina 320