The Duke Blue Devils went on the road and swept men’s and women’s dual meets against the CAA’s William & Mary on Friday, with the Duke women taking the victory 156-106 and the Duke men taking the victory 143-119, with no exhibitions impacting the scoring.
This sprint-based meet featured the regular lineup of freestyle events (50 through 1000), but everywhere else featured half-distances of the 50 and 100 yard stroke races, plus the 100 yard IM.
The Tribe from William & Mary began the meet by breaking the Pool Record in the 200 yard medley relay with a 1:44.22, which beat-out Duke’s 1:44.83. William & Mary beat out Duke on every leg of that relay, including senior Megan Howard splitting 22.82 as compared to the 23.40 for highly-rated Duke freshman Leah Goldman from Duke.
From there, the Blue Devils took control and won all but three of the remaining events in the meet. That included two individual wins from Goldman, who won the 100 backstroke in 57.12 and the 100 IM in 57.60 – two-and-a-half seconds faster than anyone else in the field.
In her other event of the day, she placed 2nd in the 50 breaststroke in 30.42, coming in behind talented William & Mary freshman Annie Valls (29.81). Valls didn’t swim the 100 breaststroke, but she was the breaststroke leg on the William & Mary medley and her ability to crank out a pure-speed 50 breaststroke will be very important to the team this year. They didn’t have anyone place higher than 14th at last year’s CAA Championship meet in the 100 breaststroke, and that cost them big on the medley relay where they were just 5th last year despite being the best team on the other 150 yards of that relay.
The two teams split the sprint freestyles, starting when Duke sophomore Maddie Rusch (23.62) beat out William & Mary sophomore Jaimie Miller (23.81). Miller came back in the 100 free to win in 52.08 ahead of Duke’s Chelsea Ye; Rusch didn’t swim that 100.
The Duke women, who are a very young team as their in the midst of an impressive three-year recruiting stretch, got more contributions from their freshmen when Isa Paez won the women’s 100 fly in 56.11.
Duke finished the day by taking the other relay, the 200 free, in 1:34.96. Their times were up-and-down in that relay, but Maddie Rusch came home with a lightning-fast 22.32 anchor to make up, and overcome, a full-second deficit. William & Mary wound up 2nd in 1:35.08.
Much like the William & Mary women, the Duke men began the meet with a Pool Record as well in the men’s 200 medley relay. The team of Kazumu Takabashi, Peter Kropp, David Armstrong, and Stefan Knight combined for a 1:30.35, which blew-away the 1:31.61 that Virginia Tech did at a meet back in 2012.
That relay included a 24.87 breaststroke split for sophomore Peter Kropp, who has emerged as a star both for Duke and the whole ACC this year.
In his second swim, Kropp would take a victory in the 50 breaststroke with an even-more-impressive 25.05 flat-start 50 breaststroke, but that would be the last when he’d earn on the day. Kropp stopped the clock first in 55.37, by a significant distance, in the 100 breaststroke, but was disqualified. That left his teammate Dylan Payne to win the event in 57.33.
While Kropp is the star of the season for Duke, their star of the meet was his fellow sophomore Bradley Cline, who won three individual events. He started with a 1:41.58 in the 200 free, which he won by three-tenths ahead of Jeremiah O’Donnell (1:41.90). That was as comfortable of a gap as he’d have on the day; in his next race, Cline won the 100 free in 46.71 ahead of William & Mary’s Taegan Clarke (46.74).
Thing still would get tighter from there, as Cline won the 100 IM by .01 seconds over William & Mary’s Will Manion (51.70).
While the meet focused largely on sprints, William & Mary took the reins in the two distance races: the 500 and 1000 yard freestyles. In the 1000, freshman Conrad Zamparelo won in 9:42.21 over Duke’s own freshman Matt Johnson in 9;44.60. The two were dead-even for most of this race, but in the last 200 yards Zamparello began to pull away and finished the race two seconds ahead.
In the 500, it was Joseph Eiden who won in 4:44.19, in the opposite manner. He was up by about three seconds for most of this race, but Duke’s Alex Pena closed well in the last 100 yards to make this a battle at the finish. Pena wound up 2nd in 4:45.07, followed by Ryan Natal and Conrad Zamparello who wrapped a 1-3-4 finish.
Full meet results available here.