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Dec. 4, 2003


Auburn, Ala. – The University of South Carolina men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams completed the first day of competition with the women’s 200 freestyle relay team highlighting the night with a first place finish. Jennifer VanAssen, Heather Skaggs, Carolynn McHugh and Ashleigh Bastak finished with a time of 1:31.31 reaching a NCAA “B” standard. In addition to the top finish, VanAssen qualified for the 2004 Olympic Trials with a time of 26.36 in the 50 meter freestyle (long course) during the preliminaries. Day two of the three-day invitational begins on Friday morning at 10 a.m. CT with preliminary competition.

“It was a pretty good first day for our team and a positive experience,” said USC head swimming coach Don Gibb. “Our 200 freetyle relay did a great job and I think their time should make the NCAA Championships. Istvan (Bathazi) swam pretty well in the IM and we had some good performances from Jennifer VanAssen and Heather Skaggs in the 50 freestyle. VanAssen’s qualifying for the Olympic Trials in the 50 freestyle in the morning session was a nice surprise. Our freshman are also swimming well and it was a good start to the invitational.”

All four of the members of the 200 freestyle relay team also competed in the finals of the 50 freestyle with Heather Skaggs leading the way with a time of 22.99, also a NCAA “B” time. VanAssen and McHugh tied for fourth (23.25) with Bastak taking sixth place with a time of 23.55, all NCAA “B” qualifying marks. Freshman Kendel Fiorentino also competed in the finals of the 200 yard individual medley and took fifth place with a time of 2:08.14. Senior Bronwyn Dedekind was eighth in the 500 freestyle with a time of 4:58.70, rounding out the “A” finalists for the Carolina women’s squad.

On the men’s side, senior Istvan Bathazi set another NCAA “B” mark in the 200 yard individual medley with a time of 1:47.60, earning Bathazi second place. Earlier in the day, Bathazi qualified for the “A” final swimming 2:03.53 in the 200 meter IM, just .18 shy of the NCAA “A” mark for long course. Also competing in the final for USC was sophomore Justin Kata who placed sixth (1:54.85) and sophomore Mike Farrington who earned seventh (1:56.70). The men’s squad also had three swimmers compete in the “A” final of the 50 freestyle. Senior Ed Murphy placed fourth (20.68), sophomore Reid Duff was seventh (21.07) and junior Josh Parkin finished in eighth place (21.34). The Carolina men also finished 3-4-5 in the 500 yard freestyle. Senior Tamas Szucs took third (4:28.10), freshman Colby Mack was fourth (4:31.54) and sophomore Tamas Bathazi placed fifth (4:31.92). The men’s team also took second place in the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 1:23.16 (Ed Murphy, Reid Duff, Joshua Parkin, Matt Burkhard).