Duke Aquatics Destroys December Meets
Twenty-four 13 & over swimmers competed at the NSS ‘Senior Circuit’ Winter Invitational in Charlotte.  To be eligible to participate, swimmers must have achieved 13-14 ‘AA’ times.   The meet featured prelims & finals for both 13-14 and 15 & over age groups, meaning that the top 16 swimmers from the morning’s prelims competed in finals that evening.  The swimmers combined to record 122 Lifetime Bests and 17 new Duke Aquatics Top 5 times.  The swimmers really stepped up in finals, with over 90% of finals swims eclipsing each swimmer’s Lifetime Best entering the meet.   Congratulations to Tommy Bilden for setting six new 13-14 Boys team records while taking first place in the 100 & 200 free, 100 & 200 fly, and 100 & 200 back.  Nathan Greeley also bested the previous 13-14 team records in the 100 & 200 back, only to take 2nd place to Tommy in both events. 
There were many personal accomplishments by each swimmer, but here is a selected list:
100% Lifetime Bests:  Tommy Bilden, Nathan Greeley, Jeremiah O’Donnell (plus 7 others who were bests in all but one event)
New Spring Sectional cuts:
*Nathan Greeley (200 back)
*Trey Harris (100 fly, 100 back, 200 IM)
*Caroline Liu (100 back)
Jeremiah O’Donnell (1650 free)
Michaela Nolte (100 & 200 Breast)
*Sara Siemens (100 fly)
Morgan Smith (200 free, 200 fly, 200 & 400 IM)
   *first time qualifier
New Age Group Sectional cuts:
Becca Churchill (50 & 100 free, 100 & 200 fly)
Nathan Greeley (200 free)
Caroline Liu (50 free)
CeCe Marzinsky (200 IM)
Sarah Helen Shepherd (500 free)
New NC Senior Champ cuts:
Becca Churchill (100 free, 100 fly)
Nathan Greeley (100 & 200 free, 200 & 400 IM)
Caroline Liu (50 free, 200 IM)
CeCe Marzinsky (200 IM)
Sophie McNeill (100 & 200 Back)
Michaela Nolte (200 fly)
Emily Sarratt (500 free)
Rob Schaefer (200 free, 100 fly)
Sarah Helen Shepherd (500 free)
Sara Siemens (200 IM)
New NC Age Group Champ cuts:
Sophie McNeill (200 & 500 free, 200 IM)
Top 8 finishers:
Tommy Bilden (13-14): 500 free (1st), 200 free (1st), 100 free (1st), 200 fly (1st), 100 fly (1st), 200 Back (1st), 100 Back (1st), 50 free (2nd)
Becca Churchill (13-14): 100 Breast (1st), 200 Breast (T-3rd)
Nathan Greeley (13-14): 400 IM (2nd), 200 IM (2nd), 200 Back (2nd), 100 Back (2nd), 100 Breast (2nd), 50 Free (5th)
Conor Hoffman (Senior): 200 Breast (1st), 100 Breast (4th), 200 IM (8th)
Caroline Liu (13-14): 100 Breast (3rd), 200 Breast (T-3rd), 100 Back (5th)
CeCe Marzinsky (13-14): 200 Fly (6th), 100 Fly (6th)
Michaela Nolte (Senior): 200 Breast (7th)
Jeremiah O’Donnell (Senior): 200 IM (3rd), 400 IM (5th), 100 Fly (6th), 100 Breast (7th), 100 Free (8th)
Emily Sarratt (Senior): 50 Free (4th), 100 Free (7th)
Jamie Schaefer (Senior): 200 Fly (6th)
Sarah Helen Shepherd (13-14): 400 IM (4th), 200 IM (6th)
Morgan Smith (13-14): 400 IM (2nd), 200 Fly (2nd), 100 Fly (2nd), 100 Free (2nd), 500 Free (3rd), 200 Free (3rd), 200 IM (4th), 100 Breast (7th)
Connor Williams (Senior): 200 Free (3rd), 200 Back (4th), 100 Free (4th), 100 Back (6th), 500 Free (8th)
At Short Course Junior Nationals in Austin, Texas, Duke Aquatics swimmer Garrett House raced the best 18 & under swimmers in the nation. Garrett’s times of 2:01.94 in the 200 breast and 1:54.21 in the 200 IM broke the previous Team Records for both 15-16 Boys and Senior Boys.  He placed 11thoverall in the meet in the 200 breast, temporarily breaking the North Carolina state record until another NC swimmer eclipsed his time in the A final.  Garrett also added a 26thplace finish in the 100 Breast.  All 3 of his swims (100 & 200 breast, 200 IM) surpassed his previous Lifetime Bests by a combined total of over 10 seconds!  Even with this success, there are still many areas where Garrett can improve upon as he looks towards his championship racing at NC Senior Champs in February and Senior Sectionals in March. 
Duke Aquatics sent twenty-three 12 & under athletes to the Wave Winter Classic in Cary to compete against some of the fastest age group swimmers in North Carolina.  As a team we did an awesome job competing and it was fun to see our swimmers get excited about this opportunity.  While watching the meet there are still things our swimmers need to work on, but we did see improvement on skills that as a coaching staff we find very important in age group swimming.  For example, it was great to watch our swimmers be among the best in the meet at finishing their 200 Freestyles with an emphasis on strong legs.  It shows that the swimmers have not just been improving their kick in practice, but are able to apply that skill to their swimming and racing.
We had multiple event winners and saw a number of new standards achieved over the weekend (stats below).  In all, the swimmers recorded 106 new Lifetime Bests, with 5 swims making the Duke Aquatics All-Time Top 5 list.  Congratulations to all swimmers that competed in the meet.                 
100% Lifetime Bests:  Audrey Sept (4 other swimmers had LTB swims in all but 1 event)
New Age Group Sectionals Cuts:
Allison Lai (50 Back)
Nick Falise (100 Back)
*Michael Li (13-14 Boys 100 Fly)
Gator Pritchard (200 Free, 500 Free, 50 Back, 100 Back, 200 IM)
Connor Sept (100 Free, 100 Back, 100 IM)
  *first time qualifier in age group
(Age Group Sectionals are held March 15-18 in Greensboro)
New Age Group Champs Cuts: 
Allison Lai (50 Back, 200 IM)
Emily Liu (200 IM)
Gator Pritchard (50 Free)
Connor Sept (100 Free)
*Meghan Sun (100 Breast)
  *first time qualifier
(Age Group Champs are held February 16-19 in Greensboro)
New AA Swimmer:  Nick Falise
New A Swimmer:  Meghan Sun 
Top 10 Finishers: 
Nicolas Falise (9): 500 Free (1st), 200 Free (1st), 50 Fly (2nd), 100 Back (3rd), 100 IM (3rd), 50 Free (4th), 200 IM (7th), 100 Free (8th), 50 Back (8th)
Richard Gao (10): 100 Breast (10th)
Emma Helmich (12): 200 Fly (9th)
Allison Lai (12): 50 Back (8th)
Michael Li (12): 200 Fly (1st), 100 Fly (1st), 100 Breast (2nd), 100 Back (5th), 100 Free (6th), 200 Back (7th), 200 Free (8th), 50 Free (8th)
Gator Pritchard (10): 500 Free (5th), 200 Free (10th), 100 Back (10th)
Connor Sept (12): 100 Breast (1st), 50 Breast (3rd), 100 Back (8th), 100 Free (9th), 50 Back (8th)
Meghan Sun (9): 100 Breast (1st), 50 Breast (1st), 100 Free (9th), 100 IM (10th), 50 Fly (10th)
Duke Aquatics had an awesome meet at the MOR Arctic Blast in Smithfield.  It was great to see thirty-five swimmers travel to a meet and be successful.  The most exciting part of the weekend, other than the fast swimming, was seeing how our swimmers have picked up proper meet habits so far this fall.  This could be seen, among other things, with our swimmers doing an excellent job warming up before and warming down after each swim without much encouragement.  This even included our 8 & under swimmers which is fantastic.  Swimmers have been improving on proper stroke technique which was evident with the ever decreasing number of disqualifications.  We will continue honing our skills as we move forward towards holiday practices.   
There was swimming done well all around this weekend (stats are below) but a special congrats to all our swimmers who achieved new BB time standards.  Achieving a BB time standard means these swimmers have now qualified for Tar Heel States coming up in March.  The motivational time standards as well as other qualifying times for upcoming meets can be found on our website by clicking here.  Congratulations to all swimmers that competed in the MOR Arctic Blast this past weekend, let’s keep up the great swimming into the New Year.
134 New Lifetime Bests
First Time Meet Swimmers:  Anna Marshall
100% Life Time Bests:  Emile Charles, Tate Eppinger
New BB Swimmers:
Devin Bunner
David Cairns
Pahvie Chhan
David Dingfielder
New B Swimmers:
Josef Kisenhofer
Caitlyn McCoy
Kyleigh McCoy
All Duke Aquatics’ swimmers have shown tremendous progress thru the first half of the short course season.  The next short course meet for all swimmers is the Duke Aquatics Nike Invitational on January 6-8.  The team will look to excel during the Championship meet season, which begins in mid-February.  All Duke Aquatics swimmers are eligible for at least one Championship meet depending on their age and qualifications.  The Championship meet schedule includes: NC Age Group Champs & Age Group Sectionals (14 & under qualifiers), NC Senior Champs & Senior Sectionals (15 & over qualifiers), Tar Heel States (12 & under BB, 13 & over open), and B/C States (12 & under B/C, Senior Development, 8 & under).  Our complete meet schedule can be found here