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Feb. 23, 2002

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The South Carolina men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams finished competition of the SEC Championships on Saturday evening at the Arkansas Natatorium. The No. 14 USC men’s squad finished in fifth place with 339 points , while the Lady Gamecocks placed sixth overall with 285.5 points. The fifth place finish for the men’s squad was the best conference finish for the Gamecocks since Carolina’s first season in the SEC when USC finished fifth in 1992. The Lady Gamecocks also tied its best conference finish in the SEC in sixth place. USC’s previous top finish also came in 1992. The Gamecocks finish the SEC Championships having broken 10 school records.

Highlighting the meet was senior All-American Zsolt Gaspar. With two SEC titles already claimed (50 freestyle, 100 butterfly), Gaspar won his third SEC title in as many nights, setting an SEC record in the 100 freestyle with a time of 42.89. With a perfect three victories in three events entered, Gaspar was awarded the SEC Commissioner Cup on the men’s side, for highest point swimmer of the SEC Championships. Added to Gaspar’s accomplishment is the note that 20 years ago, South Carolina head coach Don Gibb was the 100 freestyle champion in the SEC. Gaspar is the first Gamecock to ever win three individual titles at the SEC Championships, and is the only swimmer to do that this year in the SEC. Gaspar now owns five SEC individual titles throughout his career at South Carolina.

“I’m pleased that we finished the meet off on a high note,” said USC head swimming coach Don Gibb. “I think the 10 records broken shows the movement of this program is positive and in the right direction. I’m proud of what Zsolt accomplished here. To do what he did against his competition, means a great deal. Now we have to focus on qualifying for the NCAA Championships and getting our times down.”

The Gamecocks also broke a school record in the 400 freestyle relay and finished second overall with a time of 2:56.06. The team of Chris McCrary, Zsolt Gaspar, Javier Botello, and Tamas Szucs broke a record that was set back in 1989.

Also competing in the finals for USC was sophomore Chris McCrary in the 200 butterfly, who placed eighth with a timeof 1:48.97. McCrary recorded his best time of the year in the prelims with a time of 1:47.95.

Sophomore Lir Derieg scored points for the USC men’s squad as well, placing 16th overall in the 200 backstroke with a time of 1:53.24. Derieg qualified in the prelims with a time of 1:51.31.

On the women’s side, USC broke a 10-year old record in the 400 freestyle relay, finishing with a time of 3:23.92. The relay of Heather Skaggs, Jenn VanAssen, Carolynn McHugh and Kristen Butler placed fourth overall in the SEC.

In the women’s 100 freestyle consolation, freshman Heather Skaggs finished with the second fastest time in school history at 50.40 and placed 11th. Also placing 16th in the 100 freestyle was Jenn VanAssen at 51.54. Earlier in the day VanAssen set the third fastest time in school history in the prelims with a time of 50.71. The Gamecocks also got points from freshman Capi Adams, who placed 14th in the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:20.35.


Women’s 1650 Freestyle Final
17. Sarah Doyle, Sr., 17:03.01
Men’s 1650 Freestyle Final
10. Istvan Bathazi, So., 15:45.48
17. Cory Conway, Jr., 16:04.44
Women’s 200 Backstroke Final
8. Kristen Butler, Jr., 2:01.95
Men’s 200 Backstroke Consolation Final
16. Lir Derieg, So., 1:53.24
Women’s 100 Freestyle Consolation Final
11. Heather Skaggs, Fr., 50.40
16. Jenn VanAssen, So., 51.54
Men’s 100 Freestyle Final
1. Zsolt Gaspar, Sr., 42.89
Women’s 200 Backstroke Consolation Final
14. Capi Adams, Fr., 2:20.35
Men’s 200 Butterfly Final
8. Chris McCrary, So., 1:48.97
Women’s 400 Freestyle Relay
4. 3:23.92, (Skaggs, VanAssen, McHugh, Butler)
Men’s 400 Freestyle Relay
2. 2:56.06, (McCrary, Gaspar, Javier Botello, Tamas Szucs)

1. Florida, 742.5
2. Georgia, 719
3. Auburn, 693.5 ,br> 4. Alabama, 340.5
5. Louisiana State, 312
7. Tennessee, 240
8. Arkansas, 214
9. Kentucky, 203

1. Auburn, 763
2. Florida, 744
3. Georgia, 522.5
4. Tennessee, 476
6. Alabama, 314
7. Kentucky, 282
8. Louisiana State, 174.5