DURHAM, North Carolina, January 31. IN the Duke swimming & diving squads' final home meet and regular-season contest of the 2008-09 campaign, the Blue Devil men's team defeated Clemson by a score of 150.5-147.5 while the women fell 159-141 in what came down to the final two events against the ACC rivals Saturday afternoon at the Taishoff Aquatic Pavilion.
The men close out the season 6-3 (2-3 ACC), while the women end 7-4 (3-3) for the year.
The men's victory gave Duke a chance to avenge its recent loss, as both teams fell to North Carolina last night in Chapel Hill. The win was the Blue Devils' first over the Tigers since 1979 on the men's side, with Duke winning a total of 18 events out of 32 on the day.
"We're really proud of what we were able to do today after last night – it's hard to swim fast one night and come right back, and we did a great job," said head coach Dan Colella.
Prior to today's meet, the Blue Devils honored the program's nine seniors – Jordan Charles, Justin Mullen, Ryan Packer, Nick Schilling, Andy Ward, Katie Bieze, Lauren Gonzalez, Emily Kelly, and Megan Toney – for their accomplishments during their time in a Duke uniform.
"We're very proud of what the seniors have done over the last four years for us," said Colella. "It's been a great journey, and of course they have a lot more adventures out there ahead of them. This program has come a long way in a short period of time and it's fun to be a part of. These guys have been an integral part of all this change. The wins today were a great way to finish up their dual meet careers."
The teams also held a moment of silence before the meet for the late Bob Thompson, the former Duke swimming & diving head coach who passed away Jan. 25. Thompson spent 27 seasons at the helm of the Blue Devils before announcing his retirement in 2005. He was 66.
The Blue Devils were once again dominant on the boards, as freshman Abby Johnston took another first-place finish on the one-meter board, scoring 294.75 to lead a 1-2-3 Duke finish in the event. Johnston was followed by Julie Brummond in second (276.98) and Jessica Lyden in third (272.40). The wins were the third and fourth of the weekend for Johnston, who also won both last night at North Carolina.
On the men's side, Cody Kolodziejzyk secured a clean sweep as he won both the one- and three-meter boards for Duke. The freshman posted a season-high 370.65 in the three-meter as he trade leads with Clemson's David Giambra for the duration of his six dives. Kolodziejzyk scored a 324.22 on the one-meter later in the day, also a first-place showing, giving him three wins over the weekend as he won last night's three-meter competition against the Tar Heels.
Duke's 200 medley relays each took second behind the Tigers to start the meet, before Jackie Fasano (9:58.51), Ashley Twichell (9:59.52), and Rose O'Connor (10:11.68) went 1-2-3 in the women's 1000 freestyle. It was a personal-best for Fasano, who dipped below the 10-minute mark for the first time in her career. Nathan French was a winner in the men's 1000 free, clocking 9:29.24 for his best swim of the season not part of the mile-long swim.
Pieter Den Hartog was first in the men's 200 free in 1:42.38, while Twichell took second in the event for the women in 1:50.98, her second-fastest attempt at the distance this season.
Meredith Bannon won the 100 breaststroke for Duke in 1:05.22, and Shannon Beall (2:03.79) and Spencer Booth (1:52.97) were winners in the 200 butterfly as Duke swept that event. The men's 50 freestyle saw Andy Osterland, Nick Garvy, and Ryan Packer go 1-2-3.
Bannon came back with a win in the 200 breast as she stopped the clock at 2:20.52, while Bryan Durazo won the men's side in 2:07.62.
Twichell and French added to their strong afternoons with wins in the 500 free, Twichell coming in at 4:53.38 and French at 4:38.23. Both were neck-and-neck with the top Clemson swimmer until the final lap and both were able to distance themselves to come up with the victories.
Beall was a winner in the 100 fly in 56.21, before Garvy came up big in the event, winning in 50.73 as the Blue Devils were in need of strong swims to add to the leads.
The Blue Devils owned a 134-130 edge in the women's team scoring and the men were up 133.50-128.50 heading into just the final two events – the 200 individual medley and the 400 freestyle relays. With third-place showings on both sides in the IM, the women's relay team of Katharine Bodnar, Meghan Dwyer, Steffi Niessl, and Twichell placed third in the women's 400 free relay to suffer the late loss. But the men's team of Den Hartog, David Carlson, Packer, and Garvy won the relay in 3:06.52 to secure the three-point edge over Clemson.
With the regular season now complete, the Blue Devils are next in action at the ACC Championships, the women set to compete Feb. 18-21 and the men back in the pool Feb. 25-28, both hosted by the University of Maryland in College Park, Md.
"With ACC's coming up, it's good to see that most of our athletes are ahead of where they've been in the past," said Colella.
Special thanks to Duke for contributing this report.