Peter Kropp Blasts 100-Yard Breast in Duke Sweep of Pittsburgh

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Photo Courtesy: Andy Ringgold

Duke Swimming took home a pair of victories against Pittsburgh in its home opener.  The men won 191-101, while the women took home a 178-115 win.

Duke Press Release:

The Blue Devils rewrote the Taishoff Aquatics Pavilion record books en route to earning a pair of victories over Pittsburgh Saturday in the season opener for both teams. The Duke men dispatched the Panthers by a decisive 193-101 margin and the women defeated Pittsburgh, 178-115.

“They’ve worked hard in the pool, and it’s the little things that make a difference,” said head coach Dan Colella. “They’ve done a terrific job for the last month and I think we saw the results of that today. What we challenged them on is it’s the first meet of the season. It’s a long season, but enjoy this feeling. Let’ s try to make sure we sustain this throughout the season.”

Duke’s 200-yard medley relays kicked off the morning by breaking a pair of Taishoff Aquatics Pavilion records. The Blue Devil men swept the top three spots in the event, with its returning NCAA-qualifying relay of junior Kaz Takabayashi, junior Peter Kropp, senior David Armstrong and junior James Peek surpassing its own facility record with a 1:27.75 showing. Freshman Mickayla Hinkle, junior Ashleigh Shanley, sophomore Leah Goldman and junior Maddie Rusch headlined a one-two finish for the women, touching at 1:41.27 for another Taishoff record.

“I knew we could be quick,” Colella said. “I didn’t expect us to be that fast. It’s a great group of returning athletes and a phenomenal group of freshmen men and women. Everybody was jazzed for the first meet of the season, and it was exciting to watch.”

Kropp, who also competed as an individual at the 2015 NCAA Championship, picked up right where he left off last season in the 100 breaststroke. The Los Angeles, Calif., native posted the top time in the country to date at 52.13, also breaking his own facility record in the process. Junior Dylan Payne joined Kropp in grabbing an NCAA provisional cut, as he tapped the wall second at 55.36. Kropp returned to the water to claim the 200 breaststroke as well, earning a second NCAA ‘B’ cut with a time of 1:59.01.

“Last year our opener was against Pitt,” Kropp said. “It was a close meet but the men ended up losing. So to come out here and to start off the meet with that really fast medley relay was huge for us, huge for the momentum. And then I just tried to carry that through to the 100 – get something going, get everyone excited.”

Another pool record went down in the women’s 100 backstroke, as Hinkle continued her strong collegiate debut with a 54.55 clocking. That time earned her an NCAA ‘B’ cut in the event and ranked her third on Duke’s all-time performance list. Hinkle added a win later at the 200-yard distance (2:00.29), leading junior Liza Bragg (2:01.94) and sophomore Maria Sheridan (2:05.32) in a Blue Devil sweep.

Freshman Riley Hickman also impressed in his first meet as a Blue Devil, cruising to first-place finishes in the 500 and 1,000 freestyle. His time of 9:26.92 in the 1,000 was good for the sixth-fastest mark in program history. Fellow rookie Maddie Hess worked her way onto Duke’s all-time performance list by going 51.20 in the 100 freestyle, and Rusch took the 50-yard race at 23.21. Peek was first to the wall in both sprints on the men’s side.

In diving, freshman Evan Moretti edged the field in the men’s 1-meter competition, posting a score of 362.33 for an NCAA Zones qualifying mark. Fellow rookie Josh Owsiany also surpassed the Zones standard in third (331.50) and was third behind Pittsburgh’s Dominic Giordano and Moretti in the 3-meter competition. On the women’s side, sophomore MaryEllen Targonski (290.25) and freshman Mackenzie Willborn (356.70) also collected Zones qualifying scores in winning the 1-meter and 3-meter events, respectively.

“Last year was a little difficult because we didn’t have any male divers that competed throughout the year,” said head diving coach Nunzio Esposto. “With three men that are able to score, it makes a big difference. On the women’s side, Mackenzie is a great diver. To have her here, it’s really going to boost the women’s program.”

Other double winners on the day included Takabayashi in the 100 backstroke (48.88) and 100 butterfly (48.62), junior Bradley Cline in the 200 backstroke (1:51.53) and 200 IM (1:53.62) and sophomore Isabella Paez in both women’s butterfly events. Goldman added a final Taishoff Aquatics Pavilion record in the women’s 200 IM, breaking the 37-year old record with a 2:02.00 performance. Duke capped the meet by sweeping the women’s and men’s 400 freestyle relays.

The Blue Devils were joined by their fans in fundraising for the Duke Cancer Institute as part of a nationwide initiative of Breast Cancer Awareness POD meets. All proceeds from donations at the door and t-shirt sales Saturday will go to the Duke Cancer Institute, to be earmarked for breast cancer research.

Pittsburgh Press Release:

The Pitt men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams both fell as they squared off with Duke on Saturday at the Taishoff Aquatics Pavillion to open the 2015-16 season.

“Today’s meet was a very tough one for us,” said head coach Chuck Knoles. “Duke was very sharp and ready to race today. They set many pool and school records during the dual meet which is very unusual at this time of year. We have a lot of work to do to get our kids ready for the next competition.”

The men’s team came up short with a final tally of 193-101, while the women finished with a score of 178-115. The Panthers opened the 2014-15 season against Duke as well – a meeting that saw Pitt’s men claim a 170-128 victory as the women were edged, 166-138.

Despite the final result, there were a number of strong performances for the Panthers, who took first in four events.

Junior Kinga Cichowska turned in perhaps the strongest day for the Panthers, winning the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:03.25 and the 200 breast in 2:18.12.

In the women’s 1000-yard freestyle, sophomore Amanda Richey (10:05.35) and senior Kaleigh Ritter (10:13.13) finished first and second, respectively. Richey went on to claim the win in the 500 free as well, clocking in at 4:56.51.

Senior David Sweeney won the men’s 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:41.89.

Junior diver Dom Giordano took first in the men’s 3m diving competition (396.53) and second in the 1m (360.98).

“We look forward to regrouping and preparing for the next dual meet,’ said Knoles.

Pitt will next host its annual Alumni Meet on Friday, Oct. 9, at Trees Pool. The event is set to begin at 2:30 p.m.