Feb. 15, 2005
COLUMBIA, S.C.– The University of South Carolina swimming team will compete in the Southeastern Conference Championships this weekend in Gainesville, Fla. Competition begins Wednesday, Feb. 16 with the 200 medley relay and the 800 free relay and concludes Saturday.
The women’s team looks to improve their fifth-place finish at last year’s SEC Championships, but will face tough competition from the three top-ranked teams in the country in Georgia, Auburn and Florida. Last year’s fifth-place finish was the highest ever for the women’s team at the SEC Championships.
“The top three teams are pretty much set in stone and the rest will duke it out for the remaining places,” said head coach Don Gibb. “The Southeastern Conference is the premier conference in swimming and a lot of the best NCAA times will come out of this meet.”
The Southeastern Conference boasts five top 25 men’s teams, including number one Auburn. South Carolina’s men’s team placed eighth at last year’s SEC Championships and both the men and women will look to their newcomers to carry the teams during this year’s meet. Eleven of the 19 swimmers on the men’s team and 15 of the 24 swimmers on the women’s team are freshmen.
“A lot of our success as a team is contingent on our freshmen performing well,” stated Gibb. “But it will take everybody’s best effort to improve on last year’s performance.”
Freshman Christy Williams will be a contender in the freestyle and butterfly events while co-captains Haley Skaggs and Carolynn McHugh will lead South Carolina in the freestyle sprints. The free relays also should be successful for the women.
On the men’s side, freshman Dan White is expected to lead South Carolina in the distance freestyle events while Reid Duff and Colby Mack are the top Gamecock sprint freestylers. Along with Tamas Bathazi, White, Duff and Mack make up the 800 free relay, which has the opportunity to qualify for the NCAA Championships.
The schedule of events and full results can be found at www.gatorzone.com.