Coming off wins last night again in-state rival NC State, the North Carolina Tar Heels traveled to Durham and swept the Duke Blue Devils. Behind a distance sweep from freshman Caty Hulsey, the #12 Tar Heel women went 1-2-3 in three of the first five individual events en route to a 157-134 victory, while the men got a pair of individual victories from Dominick Glavich, Eugene Tee, and Patrick Myers to win 172-120.
North Carolina opened the women’s meet with wins in the first three events, beginning with the 400 medley, where bookend swimmers Carly Smith and Allyn Hardesty were the difference makers for the Tar Heels. Smith led off with a 55.79 backstroke split to give UNC a 2.5 second lead, only for Duke breaststroke standout Christine Wixted to close the gap over the next 100 yards. After Cari Blalock provided a little cushion on the fly leg (55.82), Hardesty put the event away with a 49.96 on the end for the win, 3:46.12 to 3:47.12.
North Carolina went 1-2-3 in the next two events, with Hulsey, fellow freshman Lilianna Casso, and Meredith Hoover taking control in the 1000 freestyle for North Carolina, touching in 10:12.74, 10:17.21, and 10:27.28, respectively. With the opportunity to train with Hulsey and Casso have made big contributions in their first years for UNC, bolstering a distance group that needed to add some depth before the graduation of senior U.S. National Team member Stephanie Peacock this spring.
Danielle Silverling, Peacock, and Blalock followed that up with a 1-2-3 of their own in the 200 free, with Silverling nearly even-splitting the race for the win (1:48.90). Between Silverlng, Hardesty, and the return of Peacock, the Tar Heels have a great opportunity to earn All-American honors in the 800 free relay at NCAA.
After Carly Smith took the 100 back for the Tar Heels, the Blue Devils got their first victory of the meet behind Christine Wixted in the 100 breast. The 2013 ACC Championship runner-up opened up a huge lead over the first 50 yards, and held off teammate Emily Barber for the win in 1:03.18.
Wixted’s win in the 100 breast sparked a bit of a run for Duke, who would go on to win 4 of the next five individual events. After Emma Nunn took the 200 butterfly for UNC (2:01.13), the Blue Devils took the 50 free (Lauren Weaver, 23.14), 100 free (Maddie Rusch, 51.12), 200 back (Liza Bragg, 2:04.07, narrowly clipping UNC’s Sarah Hitchens, who finished in 2:04.10), and 200 breast (Wixted and Barber were 1-2 again, finishing in 2:18.23 and 2:18.79).
However, the Tar Heels were able to recapture momentum with a sweep in the 500 freestyle, with Hulsey (4:59.15), Casso (5:01.54), and Annie Harrison (5:06.73) finishing 1-2-3 to put the meet out of reach for the Blue Devils.
Rusch did come back to win the 100 fly for Duke, going 55.95 to beat out a pair of Tar Heels, but UNC closed the individual events with a 1-2 200 IM – Hannah Runyon-Hass was 2:05.81 and Madison Burns went 2:05.88.
The 200 free relay was a back-and-forth battle that ended the meet with some intensity. Duke took an early lead thanks to Lauren Weaver‘s 23.07 and Maddie Rusch‘s 22.86 on the first two legs. But UNC battled back, retaking the lead on Hannah Lincoln‘s 23.1 split and Danielle Silverling closed things out for a 1:33.71 Tar Heel win. Duke was 1:33.94 for second.
The men’s meet started off with a close battle in the 400 medley relay. The top two UNC relays and Duke’s A squad all came in within a half-second of each other, but both UNC relays managed to top Duke. The top Tar Heel team was Brad Dillon, David Speese, Ben Colley and Chris Gondek in 3:21.54. Gondek’s freestyle split was the difference-maker. Although Duke breaststroker Hunter Knight put up the fastest breast split of the field, his Blue Devils were unable to top UNC’s second squad, which went 3:21.65 to Duke’s 3:22.10.
Two of North Carolina’s double-winners claimed the next two races, both freestyle. Eugene Tee won the 1000 (9:45.90) and Dominick Glavich took the 200 (1:40.27) for the Heels.
Brad Dillon won the 100 back in 50.05 before Duke finally got on the board with a big 100 breast win from Knight. His 55.76 was a full second ahead of the field. The momentum didn’t last for long, though, as UNC fired right back with a 1-2-3 in the 200 fly led by Patrick Myers’ 1:50.36, his first of two wins. Nic Graesser led another 1-2-3 sweep for the Tar Heels in the 50 free, going 21.12 to touch out teammate Sam Lewis by .02.
Duke’s Nick McCrory did win both diving boards with ease, besting the field by over 100 points in both. He scored 478.43 on 1-meter and 519.00 on 3-meter.
UNC kicked off the second block of swimming events with back-to-back victories. Logan Heck won the 100 free (45.92) and Patrick Myers the 200 back (1:48.16) before Duke’s Hunter Knight once again bested the breaststroking field in the 200 with a 2:02.48.
Matthew Conway won the 500 free with a 4:37.70 for another Tar Heel “W” before Dominick Glavich took his second victory with a 49.49 100 fly and Eugene Tee did the same with a 1:52.70 200 IM.
UNC 1-2’d the 200 free relay to really punctuate its road dominance. The top team of Brad Dillon, Chris Gondek, Kyle Ficker and Dominick Glavich went 1:23.22, the second squad was 1:23.49 and Duke finished in 1:24.71.
While this was the last dual meet for the Blue Devils before the ACC’s, the Tar Heels will close out their dual meet season against the College of Charleston next Saturday at home.