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Jan. 26, 2002

The No. 8 South Carolina men’s swimming and diving team came back strong Saturday morning, defeating No. 12 Virginia 124-119 at the Carolina Natatorium. The South Carolina women’s swimming and diving team was defeated by No. 14 Virginia 131-111.

“I think our whole team raced well today,” said USC Head Swimming Coach Don Gibb. “We’re getting better as it gets closer to the SEC Championships. I think we are peaking at the right time and we met the challenge of swimming against an outstanding Virginia team. They are well-coached and we were able to swim right with them.”

Down to the final event, the South Carolina men’s squad won the 400 freestyle relay to put the Gamecocks on top for the victory. In the 400 free relay, senior Zsolt Gaspar finished his 100 free split with a time of 43.67. Sophomores Chris McCrary and Ed Murphy, along with senior Javier Botello also swam solid times to finish the relay at 2:59.43, the best time for USC this season. The South Carolina men continue to get great efforts from a small lineup. Gaspar earned wins in the 50 freestyle (19.97) and 200 butterfly (1:45.80). Also earning victories for USC men’s team was sophomore Tamas Szucs, who finished the 200 freestyle with his best time of the season, 1:37.73. Szucs and Botello finished 1-2 in the 200 freestyle. Sophomore Istvan Bathazi finished with his top times of the season in three events. Bathazi won the 400 IM with a time of 3:51.80, reaching the NCAA Qualifying Standard. Bathazi also won the 200 breast with a time of 2:03.68 and finished second in the 1000 freestyle at 9:10.84. Also earning his top time in the 200 backstroke was sophomore Lir Derieg with a time of 1:50.72.

On the women’s side, junior Kristen Butler, sophomore Anna Nyiry and freshman Heather Skaggs each earned a win for USC. Butler was victorious in the 200 back with a time of 2:04.29. Nyiry placed first in the 50 freestyle with a time of 23.43 and Skaggs took home first place in the 100 free with a 51.50 time. The Lady Gamecocks also won the 400 freestyle relay (Nyiry, Skaggs, McHugh, Butler) with a time of 3:33.72.

In the diving competition, the South Carolina divers continued its impressive season with victories on both boards in the men’s and women’s competitions. Senior Brandon Hulko won both the one-meter (343.13) and three-meter (323.85) competitions on the men’s side. The Gamecock men finished 1-2-3 on the three-meter, with senior Brad Brown and freshman Dean Emmerton taking second and third place.

On the lady’s side, USC finished 1-2-3 on both boards. Sophomore Holly Hodges placed first in the one-meter with a score of 292.05, while freshman Tracey Richardson won the three-meter with a score of 314.25. Freshman Allison Brennan finished third in both events.

The Gamecocks return home next week, for its final homestand of the season. The Gamecocks will welcome Georgia on Fri. Feb. 1 at 5 p.m. at the Carolina Natatorium. Georgia’s women’s squad is the defending national champion. USC then hosts Alabama on Sat. Feb. 2 at 3 p.m.