Dukes lose meet, win for cancer research

Claire Murray | The Duquesne Duke

Claire Murray | The Duquesne Duke Kylie Dickman and the Duquesne women’s swim team fell to both Richmond and Oakland this weekend.
Claire Murray | The Duquesne Duke
Kylie Dickman and the Duquesne women’s swim team fell to both Richmond and Oakland this weekend.

The Duquesne women’s swim team opened their season with a dual meet against Richmond University and Oakland University.

The Dukes lost to Richmond 149-112 and were narrowly defeated by Oakland 131-130.

The Dukes battle against Oakland came down to the meet’s last race. The Dukes led Oakland 126-118 until Oakland’s 200 yard freestyle relay team grabbed first place in 1:38.17. Duquesne’s relay team of Samantha Ray, Molly O’Brien, Claire Nobles and Megan Smith finished second, just .16 seconds behind Oakland.

Duquesne coach David Sheets was proud of the Dukes’ performance.

“My expectations were that we come here today and compete against Oakland and compete against Richmond,” Sheets said. “As a team, we swam well and that’s the most important thing. We had some really good swims and a couple pool records, but the most important thing to me is that as a team, we swam well.”

Sheets contributed the Duke’s success to their time in the weight room close and positive attitudes.

“Overall, it’s the way that our team is interacting with each other, the way we’re training in the water and the time we’re putting in the weight room. They’re really working hard to accomplish their goals at the end of the season,” Sheets said.

First place finishers for the Dukes were Meghan Smith in the 200 yard free in 1:55.57 and Line Lovberg in the 200 yard butterfly in 2:04.62.

Smith showed pride in her teammates.

“The team as a whole exceeded my expectations. We all swam really well and we all put down some really good swims today,” Smith said.

According to senior Mariam McGeath, the Dukes positive attitude on the pool deck also increases the team’s morale.

“Last year when we lost a race or didn’t do as well as we thought we would, we got down on ourselves. Now we’re starting to bounce back and we have more confidence this year,” McGeath said.

McGeath took second in the 200 yard breaststroke with a time of 2:24.53.

Throughout the month of October, the Dukes collaborate with the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority to raise money and awareness for breast cancer, which is distributed to various organizations.

With a donation of $1 or more, patrons could buy a paper ribbon to hang in the hallway outside of the pool.

“Our program does a cancer awareness month. We will take all the proceeds we raise and we’ll submit them at our meet next week at St. Francis,” Sheets said.

In past years, the Duquesne, St. Francis and Connecticut State University swim teams have worked together to raise about $10,000 to donate to the Joyce Murtha Breast Cancer Foundation. This year, only Duquesne and St. Francis continue the fundraiser.

According to McGeath, the swimmers enjoy promoting the cause.

“I know for some girls on the team it hits hard so we do it in support for them and our families,” McGeath said.

The Dukes next meet is Oct. 26 when they travel to St. Francis.