By Adam Lindner | Asst. Sports Editor
Duquesne University’s swim team defeated St. Francis (PA) on Saturday afternoon, during the last meet at Towers Pool for five Duquesne seniors. The meet featured 14 events and was claimed by Duquesne by a score of 147-107.
Before the swimmers took their first dive into Towers Pool, Duquesne’s 2017 senior class was honored, consisting of Molly O’Brien, Laura Murphy, Hallie McCue, Morgan Fink and Lilly Nelson. The class played a major role last season in helping the Dukes to their highest Atlantic 10 Conference Championship finish in program history, placing second last season.
“I was happy that we were able to send our seniors out on such a high note,” head coach David Sheets said in a release. “You could see that they were having fun today, and to get a win for them in their last home meet at Towers Pool, I couldn’t be happier.”
Senior Day began with the 200-yard medley relay in which the Dukes’ three relay teams finished in second, third and fourth. Duquesne’s top relay team finished with a time of 1:48.87 following right behind Saint Francis’ top team, which clocked in at 1:48.73
After the opening relay, the individual meets commenced, and it was freshman Summer Svitavsky who captured Duquesne’s initial first-place finish on Senior Day. She recorded the top time in the 1,000-yard freestyle with a time of 10:45.53. Sophomore Gabrielle Werner and freshman Lauren Devorace finished second and third respectively, making it a clean sweep in this event for the Red & Blue.
Duquesne also swept the top three spots in the 200-yard freestyle, 100-yard backstroke, 200-yard breaststroke and the 500-yard freestyle. The five events in which Duquesne swept the podium accounted for 80 of the Dukes’ 147 total points on the afternoon.
Svitavsky also captured the top spot in the 500-yard freestyle, making her the only Duquesne swimmer to secure multiple first place finishes.
However, freshman Carson Gross (200- yard freestyle), junior Abby Watson (100- yard backstroke), sophomore Kirsten Hillsley (100-yard breaststroke), sophomore Morgan Smith (200-yard Butterfly), sophomore Abigail Stauffer (200-yard breaststroke) and senior Morgan Fink (200-yard backstroke) all secured a first-place finish.
The meet finished the same way it began, with another relay. This time it was the 200-yard freestyle relay. It wasn’t exactly the ideal end to the afternoon for Duquesne, as its top relay team finished behind Saint Francis’ slowest. However after an impressive performance in the individual portion of the meet, the final relay didn’t make much difference on the scoreboard as the Dukes won the meet rather handily.
This was the final meet of three for Duquesne at Towers Pool this season, and they finished 2-1 in their home pool on the year. Their final two meets before the Atlantic 10 Championships will be at Ohio University — a dual meet against Ohio and Xavier University — and at the University of Pittsburgh for the Western Pennsylvania Invite.
The Atlantic 10 Championships will run from Feb. 15-18, and Duquesne will attempt to top its program-best second place finish from the 2015-16 season.