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Oct. 5, 2007


COLUMBIA, S.C. – Despite 19 top-three finishes for the Gamecock men and 13 top-three efforts by the women, the South Carolina men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams both fell to Virginia Tech in the season opener for both schools at the Carolina Natatorium on Friday. The Hokie men won by a score of 191-108, while the women took first with a mark of 176-124.

“I was extremely happy with what I saw today we had some student-athletes really step up and swim fast,” South Carolina head swimming coach McGee Moody said. “I think we established a good base to continue to improve throughout the season.”

Following the first set of events, the Virginia Tech men held a 93-57 lead over the Gamecocks, while the Hokie women held an 85-65 advantage.

The Carolina men’s 200-yard medley relay team of Andrew Atzahorn, Michael Lawrence, Dominique Lendjel and Nicholas Olson captured first place in the season-opening event with a time of 1:36.24, while the women’s team of Megan Sparks, Megan D’Urso, Christy Williams and Kassy Kuger took second with a mark of 1:47.25.

In the women’s 1000 freestyle swim, Gamecock distance swimmer Christine Thompson took first with a time of 10:10.77, while on the men’s side, Steven Luckie was the top USC finisher with a second-place showing of 9:46.59. The Gamecocks swept the 200-yard freestyle swim, as Claire Thompson took the top spot in 1:50.41 and Christian Kata captured the men’s title in 1:43.50.

Tech swept the next two events – the men’s and women’s 100-yard backstroke and 100-yard breaststroke – before Carolina responded with a top finish in the women’s 200-yard butterfly. Williams continued a strong meet, finishing first with a time of 2:04.76.

Following the first break of the meet, Tech swept the men’s and women’s 100-yard freestyle and the women’s 200-yard breaststroke before Atzhorn took the top spot for the Gamecocks in the men’s 200-yard backstroke with a time of 1:52.91. Kata took second in the event with a mark of 1:53.39.

Claire Thompson captured the top spot for the Carolina women in the 500-yard freestyle in a time of 4:58.39, followed by sister Christine Thompson in second with a finish of 4:59.62. Luckie posted the top spot for the men with a second-place showing in 4:43.58 in the same event. Lendjel captured the top spot for the men in the 200-yard IM with a finish of 1:52.38, followed by Atzhorn in second with a mark of 1:55.61 for a strong showing from Carolina in the event.

The Gamecocks continued to battle through the final events of the meet, but the Hokies finished just as strong to capture the meet title.

The Carolina diving team finished strong in the opening event of the meet, as both the men’s and women’s competitors took two of the top three finishing places in the one-meter diving event. For the USC women, Taryn Zack captured the top spot with a total of 336.45 points, while teammate Allison Barr took second with a score of 290.78. On the men’s side, David Ovelson took second with a score of 362.25, while Christian Cory took third with a total of 330.68.

“I was really impressed with our diving team tonight,” head diving coach Todd Sherritt commented. “On the women’s side, Taryn Zack has shown herself to be the next superstar, while Barr was really strong in her first collegiate meet. For the men, David Ovelson just started training this week because of an injury and he did a very nice job, while Cory is a very hard worker and did a great job in the three-meter.”

In the three-meter event, Zack claimed the top spot in the women’s three-meter event with a total of 311.55. Barr finished third with a score of 295.65, just over one point behind Virginia Tech’s Sarah Milton in second (296.78). For the Gamecock men, Cory finished a strong meet with a second-place finishing with a total of 337.20 points.

The University of South Carolina men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams continue their season next weekend, hosting SEC foe LSU on Saturday, October 13 at 11 a.m.