Feb. 18, 2005
GAINESVILLE, Fla.– The University of South Carolina women’s swimming and diving team currently is in fifth and the men’s team is in eighth place after three days of swimming competition at the SEC Championships. The women are 89 points behind Kentucky with 201 while the men are 10.5 points behind Louisiana State with 129.
“Obviously it was a better day than yesterday,” said head coach Don Gibb. “Everybody in the group just about got better from the morning swim the way they were seeded so we scored a lot more points than we anticipated.”
Junior Tim Farrington was the first South Carolina swimmer to compete in the meet’s nightcap. His time of 3:59.53 in the 400-yard individual medley was more than two seconds faster than his preliminary time of 4:01.98. Farrington placed fifth in the consolation final and 13th overall, remaining in the same spot from the preliminary race. Junior Ryan Lochte of Florida won the gold medal in the championship finals with a new SEC record of 3:39.08.
Freshman Carly Hensel pulled out of a tight race with Kentucky junior Brennan Moore to move up a spot to 15th overall in the 400-yard individual medley. Her time of 4:19.13 was an improvement of more than two seconds from today’s earlier time and was also her season-best. Auburn senior Kirsty Coventry was a full second under NCAA-record pace after the butterfly leg and finished the race in first with a time of 4:06.28.
The women’s “B” final in the 100-yard butterfly was a tight race in which freshman Christy Williams improved to 14th overall with her season-best time of 55.03. Her provisional NCAA qualifying time placed her third on the school’s all-time record list in the 100 fly. Mary DeScenza, a junior from Georgia, captured the SEC crown with a time of :52.12.
Junior Reid Duff was in 15th place after the afternoon’s preliminary 200-yard freestyle race, but jumped two spots to 13th with a personal best time of 1:37.90. Florida’s Darian Townsend was right on NCAA-record pace going into the final 100 yards and finished at 1:34.41.
The women’s 200-yard freestyle was the strongest event for the Gamecocks, featuring three swimmers led by junior Haley Skaggs in 13th place with a personal-best time of 1:49.13. Freshman Lauren Fayssoux and sophomore Stephanie Margalis finished just behind Skaggs in 14th and 15th place, respectively. Both swam season-best times, with Fayssoux posting a 1:50.51 and Margalis recording a 1:50.59. Each girl improved one spot from her preliminary finish earlier in the day. Florida’s Carolina Burckle claimed the SEC title with a swim of 1:44.64.
In the 100-yard breaststroke, junior Justin Kata held his position at 15th with a season-best swim of :56.75. Alabama’s Vladislav Polyakov won the gold medal in the championship final with a swim of :53.58.
Freshman Mandee Cregar and sophomore Aunya Nance recorded the same split after the first 50 yards of the 100-yard breaststroke, but Cregar pulled ahead to finish 15th overall, just one spot in front of Nance. The freshman began the race seeded in 14th, but dropped a spot with a time of 1:05.28. Nance improved her time to 1:05.59 to keep her place at 16th. Vipa Bernhardt of Florida finished just off the SEC record with a time of 1:00.11 to win the championship finals.
In the 100-yard backstroke, freshman Kasey Tamkun remained in 16th place by shaving three tenths of a second off her previous mark and recording a season-best time of :57.70.
After the individual events, Louisiana State had pulled away from the Gamecock men, leading them 117.5- 105. The 200 freestyle relay, composed of Duff, freshman Christian Robledo, sophomore Colby Mack and freshman Dan White, finished seventh overall and one spot ahead of LSU with a time of 1:21.68, their fastest of the season.
Senior Carolynn McHugh, junior Haley Skaggs, sophomore Aunya Nance and freshman Alyssa Cady gave a strong effort in the 200 freestyle relay, but it was not enough to gain ground on Kentucky in the team standings. The two teams fought for first place in the consolation finals the entire race, but the Wildcats edged the Gamecocks by two one-hundredths of a second with a time of 1:32.07. South Carolina’s season-best 1:32.09 made the qualifying NCAA provisional cut, but needs to lose about a second to send the relay to nationals.
“That last relay (women) was solid, but needs to be faster to make NCAAs,” stated Gibb. “Overall it was a good effort today, but now we have to get ready for tomorrow.”
The fourth day of competition begins tomorrow at 10 a.m. with preliminary heats. Distance freestyle events begin at 2:30 p.m. and are timed finals. Full results and a schedule of events can be found at www.gatorzone.com.
400-yard individual medley
1. Ryan Lochte Florida 3:39.08
13. Tim Farrington S. Carolina 3:59.53
1. Gabriel Mangabeiria Florida :46.77
1. Darian Townsend Florida 1:34.41
13. Reid Duff S. Carolina 1:37.90
1. Vladislav Polyakov Alabama :53.58
15. Justin Kata S. Carolina :56.75
1. Doug Van Wie Auburn :46.71
200-yard freestyle relay
1. Auburn 1:16.95
7. South Carolina 1:21.68
400-yard individual medley
1. Kirsty Coventry Auburn 4:06.28
15. Carly Hensel S. Carolina 4:19.13
1. Mary DeScenza Georgia :52.12
14. Christy Williams S. Carolina :55.03
1. Caroline Burckle Florida 1:44.64
13. Haley Skaggs S. Carolina 1:49.13
14. Lauren Fayssoux S. Carolina 1:50.09
15. Stephanie Margalis S. Carolina 1:50.59
1. Vipa Bernhardt Florida 1:00.11
15. Mandee Cregar S. Carolina 1:05.28
16. Aunya Nance S. Carolina 1:05.59
1. Margaret Hoelzer Auburn :53.71
16. Kasey Tamkun S. Carolina :57.70
200-yard freestyle relay
1. Georgia 1:28.87
5. South Carolina 1:32.09