GREENSBORO, N.C. – The Duke women’s swimming and diving team will send a relay to the NCAA Championships for the first time in program history following a record-setting night of action at the 2014 ACC Women’s Swimming and Diving Championship at the Greensboro Aquatic Center.
In the opening event of the conference championship, the Blue Devils’ 200-yard medley relay team of freshman Jessie Sutherland, senior Christine Wixted, freshman Maddie Rusch and senior Lauren Weaver earned automatic qualification to the 2014 NCAA Women’s Division I Swimming and Diving Championship with a school record-breaking time of 1:37.91. That mark, nearly three seconds faster than the previous program record, also placed Duke fifth out of 11 relays in the event, with the top six relay teams all surpassing the NCAA ‘A’ standard.
“The first event of ACCs is always very, very stressful and to perform and just crush the school record the way they did was amazing,” said head coach Dan Colella.
The 800 freestyle relay featured another record-setting performance by the Duke women, as Wixted, freshman Brittany Friese, sophomore Kiera Molloy and freshman Liza Bragg combined for an eighth-place finish at 7:19.70. Wixted’s leadoff leg of 1:49.03 was also good for a school record in the 200 freestyle.
“We’re just incredibly proud,” Colella said. “It was definitely a great way to get this meet underway and we’re really looking forward to the next three days.”
Through the first two events of the meet, the Blue Devils totaled 94 points to sit seventh in the team standings. Virginia Tech is just two points ahead in sixth, while reigning ACC champion Virginia leads the field with 128 points after sweeping the two relay titles Wednesday evening.
The ACC Championship continues Thursday, Feb. 20 with preliminaries slated to go off at 11 a.m. and finals at 7 p.m. Thursday’s finals session will be streamed live on TheACC.com, while live results will be available for all sessions.
Thursday also marks the beginning of the men’s and women’s diving competitions in Greensboro, as the men will take to the 3-meter board and the women will compete on the 1-meter board beginning at 1 p.m.