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March 22, 2003

Auburn, Ala. – South Carolina’s women’s swimming and diving team completed the final day of the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships and finished 24th, the highest finish for Carolina since Don Gibb began coaching the swimming and diving program four years ago. Junior Jennifer VanAssen competed in the consolation final of the 100 freestyle and placed 16th with a time of 50.18.

“I’m very excited with how we finished and with where our program is headed,” said USC head swimming coach Don Gibb. “We had some misfortune with injuries to Anna Nyiry and Heather Skaggs but we competed well this weekend. I’m excited at where our program is and in the next couple of years I think we are ready to make a big push at the SEC and National level.”

VanAssen swam the prelims at 49.65 in the 100 freestyle, putting her in the consolation final. Also competing for USC in the 100 freestyle was Carolynn McHugh, who finished the prelims with a time of 51.87.

The Gamecocks come away with three girls earning All-American honors. VanAssen’s seventh place finish in the 200 freestyle and sophomore diver Lauren King’s seventh place on the one-meter board earned each first team All-Amercian honors. Sophomore diver Tracey Richardson earned honorable mention All-American on the three-meter board with her 10th place finish.

“Jennifer earned it and worked very hard in the off-season and when she came to school this fall,” said Coach Gibb. “She was prepared and competed at a very high level for us. I’m excited with the prospects of her senior year.”

Auburn won its second consecutive championship with 536 points. Georgia finished second with 373 points and Florida was fifth with 277 points, putting three SEC teams in the top five.

The South Carolina men’s swimming and diving team competes next week at the NCAA Championships in Austin, Texas. Junior swimmer Tamas Szucs and sophomore diver Andy Bradley will represent South Carolina.