Rusch Sweeps Sprints as Duke Beats South Carolina


  • Results
  • Hosted by Duke University
  • Saturday, January 14th
  • 25 yards
  • Dual meet format


  • MEN- Duke 160.5, South Carolina 139.5
  • WOMEN- Duke 167, South Carolina 133

Duke and South Carolina squared off in a dual meet this weekend, with the Blue Devils securing the victory on both the men’s and women’s sides at home. Senior Maddie Rusch and Junior Verity Abel played a key role, picking up 2 individual wins each. Rusch swept the sprints, posting a rapid 22.88 in the 50 free and a 50.59 to win the 100 free. Abel took on the opposite disciple, sweeping the distance freestyles. She clocked a 10:04.90 to win the 1000 free by 10 seconds before securing the sweep with a 4:54.37 in the 500 free.

Max St George threw down a winning double to help the Duke men to victory. He swept the backstrokes, starting with the 100 back, which he won in 48.54. St George then went head-to-head with South Carolina’s Tom Peribonio in the 200 back, where he used his front half speed to take the early lead and hold on for the win. St George finished in a quick 1:47.53 to Peribonio’s 1:49.15.

South Carolina’s Nils Wich-Glasen pulled off an impressive breaststroke double. In the 100 breast, he threw down a 53.93 to outswim Duke breaststroke standout Peter Kropp (54.53). In the 200 breast, he swam a dominant 1:57.38 that put him just shy of 5 seconds ahead of the field. Wich-Glasen also swam the 200 IM, where he posted a 1:51.57 to take 2nd behind teammate Tom Peribonio (1:50.34).

Reigning SEC mile champ Akaram Mahmoud repped the Gamecocks in the distance races. He had a close race with teammate Cody Bekemeyer in the 1000 free, holding him off at the finish to win in 9:04.93 to Berkmeyer’s 9:05.02. In the 500 free, Mahmoud (4:30.41) and Bekemeyer (4:30.52) battled closely again for 2nd and 3rd behind teammate Fynn Minuth, who won in 4:23.77.

Emma Barksdale was one of the top performers for the South Carolina women, taking a pair of wins and a 2nd place finish in her 3 events. Barksdale’s wins came with her 1:49.28 in the 200 free and 2:00.53 in the 200 IM. Her 2nd place finish came in the 100 free, where she finished behind Rusch with a 51.02.


DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke swimming and diving teams opened the spring portion of the 2016-17 campaign with a pair of victories over SEC foe South Carolina Saturday in Taishoff Aquatics Pavilion. The 23rd-ranked Blue Devil women came away with a 167-133 victory and the men topped the Gamecocks, 160.5-139.5 in a dual that came down to the final event of the meet.

With the wins, both Duke squads improved to 5-1 heading into next weekend’s regular season finale against Virginia.

“Always excited about a win,” said head coach Dan Colella. “We knew that the men’s meet would probably go down right to the last relay, which it did … Really proud of the guys. South Carolina came in the first half of the meet, and even though we had won some of the events, their energy and attitude was such that if we didn’t really turn things around mid-meet, I think the final result would have been very different. We’re very proud of them and how they stepped up in the second half of the competition.”

Individually, the Blue Devils featured a trio of double-event winners in the pool, with junior Verity Abeltaking both women’s distance events, senior Maddie Rusch the women’s sprint races and sophomore Max St. George the men’s backstroke events. Freshman Nathaniel Hernandez headlined a one-two-three finish by the Duke divers in the men’s 3-meter springboard competition and Blue Devil swimmers also claimed three of the four relays on the day.

Duke’s relay teams set the tone early, taking the top two spots in both the women and men’s 200-yard medley relays. The women’s team of sophomore Mickayla Hinkle, senior Ashleigh Shanley, freshman Alyssa Marsh and Rusch broke a Taishoff Aquatics Pavilion record in a 1:40.24 performance before the quartet of senior Kaz Takabayashi, senior Peter Kropp senior Michael Miller and sophomore Yusuke Legard took first in 1:28.60.

After Abel claimed the women’s 1,000 freestyle (10:04.90), the score went back and forth with South Carolina wins in the men’s 1,000 freestyle and both 200 freestyle events. However, the Blue Devils responded with a strong showing in the 100 backstroke, as Maddie Hess and Hinkle combined for a one-two finish in the women’s race. Hess came in under the NCAA provisional standard at 54.47. St. George (48.54) followed with a victory in the men’s race while Takabayashi tied the Gamecocks’ Jonathan Boland for second (48.92).

Shanley and junior Isabella Paez widened the margin on the women’s side with a pair of first-place performances in the 100 breaststroke and 200 butterfly, respectively. Duke then received a boost in the sprint events, with Blue Devils sweeping all four races. Rusch was first to the wall in the women’s 50 and 100 freestyle, earning an NCAA ‘B’ cut at the 50-yard distance with a mark of 22.88. Senior Michael Seaberg (20.74) and Legard (20.88) bested the field in the men’s 50 freestyle before Legard won the 100-yard event (45.76).

St. George returned to the water to collect a first-place finish in the men’s 200 backstroke (1:47.53) while Hess (2:01.57) and senior Liza Bragg (2:01.97) were second and third, respectively, in the same event on the women’s side. Shanley (2:17.90) and Kropp (2:02.27) turned in second-place performances in the 200 breaststroke and Abel cruised to her second win of the day, this one coming in the 500 freestyle (4:54.37).

In diving, Hernandez led a one-two-three finish by the Blue Devil men on the 3-meter springboard. Hernandez netted an award of 371.25, followed by sophomores Josh Owsiany (329.40) and Evan Moretti (324.83). In the women’s 3-meter competition, senior Kirby Quinn posted a season-best score of 300.30 in a second-place finish. Freshman Lizzie Fitzpatrick (283.80) and Moretti (332.40) were also second in the 1-meter events.

The South Carolina men placed swimmers in each of the top four spots in the 200 IM, narrowing the margin to just eight points heading into the final event, the 400 freestyle relay. Duke was able to reclaim the momentum to close the meet, securing the victory with first and second-place finishes. Junior Alex Peña, senior Bradley Cline, Kropp and freshman Miles Williams led the way at 3:03.28 and Legard, sophomore Sean Tate, Seaberg and Takabayashi were second (3:03.49).

The Blue Devils return to Taishoff Friday to host ACC opponent Virginia on Senior Night. The dual meet begins at 5 p.m. and will be streamed on ACC Network Extra.

“This being our first competition since December, we were pleased with the performances, but not ecstatic,” Colella said. “There were some individuals who did have some great, great performances today but in order to really compete with Virginia and UNC it’s going to take a huge team effort.”


COLUMBIA, S.C. — The University of South Carolina Swimming & Diving team dropped second meet of the spring season Saturday afternoon to Duke. The Carolina men fell 160.5-139.5, while the women dropped a 167-133 decision at the Taishoff Aquatics Pavilion.

Despite the setbacks, Carolina had several student-athletes win multiple events. On the women’s side, Julia Vincent won the 1-meter and 3-meter dives, Emma Barksdale took the 200-yard freestyle and 200-yard IM, Emily Cornell notched a victory in the 200-yard backstroke, Kersten Dirrane finished first in the 200-yard breaststroke and the Gamecocks won the 400-yard freestyle relay.

For the men, Jordan Gotro won the 1-meter dive, Akram Mahmoud finished first in the 1000-yard freestyle, Fynn Minuth took the 200-yard freestyle and the 500-yard freestyle, Nils Wich-Glasen won both the 100-yard and 200-yard breaststroke, Will Riggs finished first in the 200-yard butterfly and Tomas Peribonio took the 200-yard IM.

In addition to the 14 first place finishes by Carolina, three Gamecocks broke pool records. Nils Wich-Glasen set the new pool record in the 200-yard breast with his time of 1:57.38. The previous best was 1:58.91 set by Wich-Glasen in 2015. Fynn Minuth broke the pool record in the 500-yard freestyle with his time of 4:23.77, which was set by Clemson’s Neil Brophy in 1983 at 4:27.79. Emma Barksdale also set a new pool record in the 200-yard IM with a time of 2:00.53. The previous record was 2:02.00 set by Duke’s Leah Goldman in 2015.

With the losses, Carolina’s men’s team is 0-4 on the season and the women are 1-4. Duke’s men’s and women’s team are now both 5-1 on the season.

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Margie Molloy

Way to go Duke! Getting it done in the pool!

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona and the University of Florida. While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She is now coaching for Loggerhead Aquatics in her hometown …

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