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Feb. 20, 2002

The University of South Carolina men’s and women’s swimming teams competed for the first time Wed. evening at the Arkansas Natatorium. After two days of diving, the Gamecocks finally hit the pool setting three school records in four events. The South Carolina women’s squad is in third place with 107.5 points behind LSU and Alabama. The No. 14 USC men’s squad rests in seventh place with 93 points.

“We’re going to get better as the meet goes along but I thought we did a pretty good job in our first day,” said South Carolina head swimming coach Don Gibb. “We need to do a better job pacing and I felt we could have finished better in the 800 freestyle relay but overall we’re doing all right after first day of swimming.”

Both the mens’ 200 medley relay team and the 800 freestyle relay team set records. In the men’s 800 freestyle relay (Zsolt Gaspar, Tamas Szucs, Javier Botello, Istvan Bathazi), the Gamecocks finished third with a time of 6:28.11. The previous school record was a time of 6:31.17. The men’s 200 medley relay team (Lir Derieg, Istvan Bathazi, Zsolt Gaspar, Chris McCrary) set a school record with a time of 1:29.38 finishing in seventh place. With both times, the USC men reached the NCAA “B” qualifying standard. The winner of the event was Florida with a time of 1:26.76. The previous record was held by Rick Havekost, Mark Smith, Rik Leishman, and Ray Burton in 1991 (1:29.81).

In the 800 freestyle relay the USC women’s squad of Heather Skaggs, Jennifer VanAssen, Bronwyn Dedekind and Kristen Butler placed fourth with a school record time of 7:20.97. USC set a school record last year in the SEC Championships in this event (Dedekind, Sarah Doyle, VanAssen, Caroline Curran, 7:21.92).

In the women’s 200 medley relay, USC (Heather Skaggs, Priscilla Humberstone, Anna Nyiry, Carolynn McHugh) finished with the second best time in school history at 1:43.59, just behind the USC record of 1:43.49. The Gamecocks finished seventh in the heat with Auburn earning the victory with a time of 1:38.87.

The Gamecock divers competed for the final day in platform diving. In his final SEC competition, senior Brandon Hulko placed 12th with a score of 357.15 in the prelims. Freshman Dean Emmerton (317.15) and senior Brad Brown (309.65) finished 17th and 18th respectively. Freshman Tammy Baker competed for the women’s squad and finished 18th with a score of 253.75.

The Gamecocks will continue competition on Thursday, with four events scheduled for the men’s and women’s squads. Each team will compete in the 500 freestyle, 200 individual medley, 50 freestyle and 200 freestyle relay. On the men’s side, senior All-American Zsolt Gaspar will try to repeat as SEC 50 freestyle champion. Gaspar holds the top time among competitors with a converted time of 19.36 from this winter’s European Championships. Also competing in the 50 freestyle for USC will be sophomores Chris McCrary and Ed Murphy and freshman Josh Parkin. In the 500 freestyle, sophomore Tamas Szucs looks to make the final group and compete for the top spot. Szucs holds the Gamecocks top time in the 500 free with a time of 4:30.01. Junior Cory Conway will also compete in the 500 free. Sophomore Istvan Bathazi wil compete for USC in the 200 IM.

For the Lady Gamecocks, senior Sarah Doyle and sophomore Bronwyn Dedekind figure to be in the Top 16 in the 500 freestyle. Sophomore Anna Nyiry enters the 50 freestyle with a top time of 23.35, sixth best in the SEC. Freshmen Capi Adams, Heather Skaggs and Carolynn McHugh will also compete for USC. Joining Adams in the 200 IM is sophomore Priscilla Humberstone.