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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC `Seizes the Moment' Against Lower-Tier Foe

The swimming and diving teams used the Duke meet as an opportunity to shave seconds off their times.

UNC dominated Duke again, taking first place in 24 of the 32 events.

North Carolina men's team captain Chris Helin described the competition as an intense practice.

"It's nothing really too big," Helin said. "It's an opportunity for the guys who didn't get to (travel in the last meet) to try and see what they can do."

Comfort compared early season meets to exhibition games.

"Two months later, no one will remember who won the Nike Cup," Comfort said. UNC will compete in the Nike Cup on Nov. 15, 16 and 17.

However, Comfort went on to say that the Nike Cup and matches with teams like Duke are important.

After the Nike Cup, UNC will not compete again for nearly two months, when it hosts Clemson on Jan. 13. With such a large gap between competitions, Comfort said his swimmers need to take advantage of every meet they have, even if it is against a team like Duke.

"(Against Duke) the excitement level isn't going to be as high as it is against Georgia or Minnesota, but you only have so many opportunities to compete, and you darn well better do your best when you get them," Comfort said.

But in meets against lower-tier teams, a win is almost inevitable, forcing swimmers to look elsewhere for motivation. Often they focus on improving their times.

Michael Chenier said he was impressed with the times that his teammates were posting, especially because the team has been having double practices for the past few days.

"We don't expect to have too many good swims in a meet like this," Chenier said. "It's just exciting to see people swim fast."

In the men's 500-yard freestyle, Seth Laughlin shaved 1.56 seconds off of the time he posted in Minnesota, touching first in four minutes, 38.35 seconds.

Helin also had an impressive time Tuesday with a 1:50.91 first-place finish in the men's 200 butterfly.

"If you're swimming well while you're still training hard, it says something about the kind of condition that you're in," Helin said.

Comfort said he, too, was proud of his team's performance.

"We had a lot of really solid swims," Comfort said. "We seized the moment."

The Sports Editor can be reached at sports@unc.edu.

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