Feb. 17, 2018


GENEVA, Ohio - It came down to the final event of the four-day 2018 Atlantic 10 Championship on Saturday night at the SPIRE Institute, as the Duquesne swimming and diving team claimed its first-ever A-10 title in dramatic fashion.

The Dukes owned a seven-point advantage over seven-time defending champion Richmond heading into Saturday night's 400-yard freestyle relay, the 20th and final event of the championship meet. The relay team of sophomore Carson Gross (York, Pa./York Suburban), senior Lexi Santer (Wilmington, Del./Charter School of Wilmington), sophomore Heather Svitavsky (Willoughby, Ohio/Willoughby) and senior Michelle Heim (Greensboro, N.C./Ragsdale) posted a fifth-place finish in the event, one spot ahead of the Spiders, sealing the victory for Duquesne.

The Dukes tallied a program-record 567 points while Richmond finished with 558 points.

After Duquesne held the lead after two days of competition, Richmond, winners of 15 of the last 16 A-10 championships, gained a one-point edge (401-400) over the Dukes following the third day of action on Friday. On Saturday, however, Duquesne outscored the Spiders 167-157 en route to earning its first A-10 crown in program history.

Duquesne head coach David Sheets was named the 2018 Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year, while freshman Emma Brinton (Landenburg, Pa./Avon Grove) earned Most Outstanding Rookie Performer honors. Sheets, in his 17th season at the helm of the Dukes program, picks up his second conference Coach of the Year accolade after also earning the recognition in 2015.

Brinton finished with a pair of gold medals in the 200-yard individual medley and the 400-yard individual medley in addition to being part of Duquesne's bronze medal-winning 400-yard medley relay team. The freshman set a new school record in the 200 IM, while also setting a new A-10 Championship, pool and school record in the 400 IM.

On Saturday, the Dukes added three more medals highlighted by junior Abigail Stauffer's (Chambersburg, Pa./Chambersburg) silver medal performance in the 200-yard breaststroke with an NCAA "B" cut time of 2:15.42.

Sophomore Summer Svitavsky (Willoughby, Ohio/Willoughby) led off Saturday night's finals with a bronze medal showing in the 1650-yard freestyle with a mark of 16:54.82, while junior Morgan Smith (Chapel Hill, N.C./East Chapel Hill) earned a bronze medal in the 200 butterfly with a time of 2:01.47.

All told, the Dukes earned 13 medals in 20 events, including four golds, two silvers and seven bronzes across the four-day meet.

Duquesne's 567 points at the meet bested the previous program record of 498.5 points set at last year's A-10 Championship. The Dukes had recorded two straight second-place showings at the conference meet, Duquesne's highest finishes prior to this year's title.

1. Duquesne - 567
2. Richmond - 558
3. George Washington - 447.5
4. Fordham - 432.5
5. St Bonaventure - 420
6. Massachusetts - 355.5
7. George Mason - 258
8. Saint Louis - 205
9. La Salle - 190
10. Rhode Island - 162
11. Davidson - 129.5



1650 Freestyle
3. Summer Svitavsky - 16:54.82
13. Lauren Devorace - 17:17.28

200 Backstroke
4. Emma Brinton - 1:58.97
8. Abby Watson - 2:06.27

100 Freestyle
8. Carson Gross - 50.97
11. Lexi Santer - 51.06
13. Michelle Heim - 51.43

200 Breaststroke
2. Abigail Stauffer - 2:14.42
4. Kayla Owens - 2:17.36
9. Audrey Campo - 2:17.52
10. Erin Kuhn - 2:17.89
12. Kirsten Hillsley - 2:18.84

200 Butterfly
3. Morgan Smith -2:01.47
14. Gabrielle Werner - 2:04.81

400 Freestyle Relay
5. Carson Gross, Lexi Santer, Heather Svitavsky, Michelle Heim - 3:23.54


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