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Dec. 10, 2003

Columbia, S.C. – Fresh off a weekend performance at the Auburn Invitational, the South Carolina men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams enter this weekend and the Carolina Classic with some of the top timesand scores in the nation. Top among them is senior Jennifer VanAssen’s time in the 200 freestyle, 1:46.07, which is currently the fastest time in the nation.

VanAssen, who broke her own record in the 200 freestyle last weekend and qualified for the US Olympic Trials, also swam on the 200, 400 and 800 freestyle relays that are also among the top 10 fastest in the nation. The 200 freestyle relay (VanAssen, Heather Skaggs, Carolynn McHugh, Ashleigh Bastak) is also the fastest time in the nation at 1:31.31. The 400 freestyle relay (VanAssen, Heather Skaggs, Haley Skaggs, McHugh) is the fifth fastest in the nation at 3:21.94 and the 800 freestyle relay (VanAssen, Dedekind, Heather Skaggs, Haley Skaggs) is also fifth fastest at 7:22.63. Carolina also set a school record this weekend in the 400 freestyle relay. VanAssen has automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships with Heather Skaggs, Haley Skaggs, Carolynn McHugh and Ashleigh Bastak provisionally qualified.

In addition to the Gamecock women’s swimers, the women’s divers also are among the nation’s best. Four of the top seven divers in the SEC on the one-meter board are members of the USC women’s team. Lauren King first (319.5), Holly Hodges second (313.43), Lyndsey Havens sixth (295.50) and Allison Brennan seventh (290.78). Brennan also holds the third top score on the three-meter board with a score of 493.94. All four have automatically qualified for the NCAA Diving Zones competition.

The men’s swimming and diving team features junior diver Andy Bradley. An All-American and last year’s NCAA runner-up in the one-meter holds the top time in the conference on the one-meter (414.90) and fourth highest on the three-meter board (534.37). Senior swimmer Istvan Bathazi has provisionally qualified for the NCAA Championships in the 200 IM (1:47.60) and 400 IM (3:48.57). Also provisionally qualifying is senior Tamas Szucs in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:37.79. Bathazi is second fastest in the SEC in the 400 IM and fourth fastest in the 200 IM with Szucs sixth fastest in the 200 freestyle.

The Carolina Classic begins on Friday, December 12 at 4 p.m. at the Carolina Natatorium and will run through Sunday, December 14.