By Adam Lindner | Sports Editor
Feb. 22, 2018
After finishing in second place in the Atlantic 10 in each of the past two seasons, the Duquesne swimming program finally prevailed this past weekend, doing something it has never done before: Win the Atlantic 10 Championship.
It wasn’t easy, however, as the Dukes owned only a seven-point lead over seven-time defending champion Richmond heading into Saturday night’s final event — the 400-yard freestyle relay.
However, a relay team consisting of sophomore Carson Gross, senior Lexi Santer, sophomore Heather Svitavsky and senior Michelle Heim managed to finish fifth in the event, just ahead of the sixth-place Spiders, to seal the deal for Duquesne, who benefitted from fielding a diving component for the first time in 16 seasons.
The Dukes ended the tournament with a program-record 567 points, which was enough to narrowly deny Richmond its sixteenth A-10 Championship in the past 17 years, as the Spiders finished with 558 points. George Washington finished third with 447.5 points.
The last school to dethrone Richmond was Fordham, who won the A-10 title in 2010.
17-year Duquesne head coach Dave Sheets was named the A-10 Coach of the Year for the second time in the past four seasons, and incredible newcomer Emma Brinton received Most Outstanding Rookie Performer following the tournament’s conclusion.
Sheets previously won the title in 2015.
The Dukes earned medals in 13 of the meet’s 20 events, including four gold medals, two silvers and five bronzes across the four-day tournament.
Brinton finished with a pair of gold medals in the 200-yard individual medley and the 400-yard individual medley, and was a part of Duquesne’s 400-yard medley relay team that medaled bronze.
The freshman set a new school record in the 200-yard individual medley, and a new A-10 Championship, pool and Duquesne record in the 400-yard individual medley.