Duke Prepares for Weekend Action at Taishoff

The Duke men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams will return to Taishoff Aquatic Pavilion for the first time since November, hosting ACC foe Virginia and non-conference opponent Richmond in a pair of weekend dual meets. The Blue Devils will take on the Cavaliers in conference action Friday, Jan. 24 at 5 p.m. before the Duke women welcome Richmond Saturday, Jan. 25 at 1 p.m. Live results will be available for both meets.

Last Time Out

The Blue Devils returned to competition Jan. 11 for the first time since November, with the women suffering a 167-133 loss to host South Carolina and the men falling to the 25th-ranked Gamecocks, 184-116 … Freshman Maddie Rusch paced the Duke women with individual wins in the 100-yard freestyle and the 100 butterfly while senior Hunter Knight swept the breaststroke events and classmate Nick McCrory added first-place finishes in the 1-meter and 3-meter springboard diving events to lead the Blue Devil men … The Blue Devil women dropped to 3-2 on the season and the men slipped to 2-2 following the non-conference meet.

Scouting the Cavaliers

Under the direction of first-year head coach Augie Busch, the Virginia women are 7-1 on the season and came in at ninth in the latest Division I poll released by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) … The Cavalier men are 4-3 on the year and ranked 20th nationally … In their last outing, the women’s squad picked up dual-meet victories over Virginia Tech, Wisconsin and Miami and the men topped Harvard and Wisconsin but fell to the Hokies at a two-day meet in Christiansburg, Va.

Virginia’s Leah Smith was tabbed the ACC Female Swimmer of the Week Tuesday after winning the 200-yard and 500-yard freestyle events and guiding the Cavaliers’ 800 freestyle relay to a first-place finish last weekend … Smith paces the conference in the 200 (1:45.09) and 500 freestyle (4:36.19) and is second at the 1,000 (9:42.00) and 1,650-yard (15:57.44) distance … On the men’s side, Jon Daniec has clocked the fastest times in the ACC this season in the 500 freestyle (4:19.44) and the mile (15:00.90), and teammate Luke Papendick leads the way in the 200 backstroke (1:42.26).

Last Time We Met

Despite a pair of losses to the Cavaliers last year in Charlottesville, the Blue Devils had a number of highlights, including wins in three of the four relay events … Duke won both 200 medley relay events to start the meet and the men also out-touched Virginia in the 200 freestyle relay … 2013 graduate Ben Hwang swept the sprint freestyle events as well.

Scouting the Spiders

The Richmond women enter Saturday’s competition with a record of 9-3 in dual meets … Last weekend’s action saw the Spiders collect wins over La Salle and Fordham … Senior Mali Kobelja led the way with individual wins in the 100 backstroke, 200 breaststroke and 200 IM … Freshman Irina Chiulli paced the team on the boards, winning the 1-meter and 3-meter diving events.

Colella’s Take

“Virginia has had a history of having great teams,” said head coach Dan Colella. “It’s a new staff but it is an incredibly talented group of men and women … It’s going to be tough to beat someone like that but the biggest thing is we want to go into the meet and be absolutely as competitive as possible. It’s a great opportunity to race not only some of the best talent in the ACC, but some of the best talent in the country … Richmond has some very talented young ladies that will give us some great races. The key thing for us is just being able to turn around after a big meet Friday night, come in and swim really hard the next morning because that is what’s going to be required of them when they swim at ACCs.”

McCrory Garners Fourth ACC Weekly Honor

Senior Nick McCrory was selected the ACC Male Diver of the Week for the fourth time this season Tuesday, Jan. 14 following a strong showing against South Carolina … McCrory, who remains undefeated on the season across the three diving disciplines, swept the men’s 1-meter and 3-meter springboard events Jan. 11 against the Gamecocks, posting a score of 379.27 on the 1-meter board and 435.28 at the 3-meter height.

Duke in the National Landscape

Senior Christine Wixted currently ranks third in the ACC and is tied for 13th in the country with her 100 breaststroke time of 1:00.27 at the Nike Cup … Fellow senior Hunter Knight is among the top 40 male swimmers nationally in the 100 breaststroke (54.19) … The women’s 200 freestyle relay of senior Lauren Weaver, senior Christine Wixted, freshman Maddie Rusch and sophomore Chelsea Ye ranks fifth in the ACC with a mark of 1:32.18 … Rusch is also second in the conference and 33rd nationally in the 50 freestyle at 22.61 … In diving, senior Nick McCrory paces the conference on all three disciplines.

This release was provided to SwimSwam courtesy of Duke swimming and diving.

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About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

Gold Medal Mel Stewart

MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …

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