Feb. 21, 2008
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Junior diver David Ovelson collected South Carolina’s first medal of the 2008 SEC Championship on Thursday, finishing third in the men’s one-meter diving competition held at the University of Alabama Aquatic Center. Ovelson tallied a six-dive total of 337.95. Overall, day two of the championships saw league competitors break three conference and eight pool records.
Florida leads the women’s race with 272 points, followed by Auburn in second with 230 and Tennessee in third with 200.5. Carolina is currently seventh with a total of 118 points through 16 events. On the men’s side, Auburn has a solid lead with 322 points, followed by Florida with 233 and Tennessee in third with 208. South Carolina holds eighth place with 101 points.
Ovelson turned in a steady and consistent performance to advance to the one-meter final as one of the top eight divers following the preliminary round on Wednesday afternoon. Joining Ovelson in the final was teammate Cory Christian, who finished eighth with a solid effort of 302.60.
On the women’s board, the freshman duo of Allison Barr and Taryn Zack each advanced to the three-meter final following an impressive morning session. Zack competed well during the later half of the day, claiming fifth (299.95), while Barr finished seventh (290.15).
“Our main focus as a team was to stay consistent, steady and focus on our objectives,” Ovelson commented following the award ceremony. “I’m really happy with the outcome, its always exciting to win an SEC medal.”
Both head diving coach Todd Sherritt and head swimming coach McGee Moody echoed Ovelson’s comments.
“Our team really had an outstanding day,” Sherritt said. “Four of our divers reached finals competition, with David winning a medal and Cory turning in a strong performance as well. And for our two freshman divers on the women’s side to each make the final is really great.”
“We had some great swimming performances today,” Moody stated. “And we captured several qualifying cuts, but our divers really had an outstanding day on the boards and competed very well.”
Carolina saw several swimmers post season and personal-best records on Thursday, beginning with a solid performance by junior Amanda Dunnigan in the 200-yard IM. Her mark of 2:02.91 in preliminary competition was a season-best and NCAA qualifying time. She competed in the consolation finals during the nightcap, finishing 16th with a time of 2:03.77. Senior Christy Williams also competed in the 200 IM for the Gamecocks, claiming a season-best time of 2:03.24, finishing 18th.
On the men’s side, sophomore Dominique Lendjel completed the 200 IM with a 15th-place (1:49.43) showing in the consolation final. Classmate Andrew Atzhorn also turned in his top time of the season in the event, posting a time of 1:52.77 in preliminary action.
Both the men’s and women’s 200 freestyle relay team’s each captured NCAA qualifying marks in the final event of the night. The women’s team comprised of freshman Bridget Halligan, junior Kassy Kugler, freshman Megan Sparks and senior Diana Lopez finished eighth with a time of 1:33.07. For the Gamecock men, the squad of Lendjel, junior Nicholas Walkotten, sophomore Josh Klotz and junior Todd Weyandt turned in an eighth-place mark of 1:22.28.
Competition continues on Friday with preliminary action of the 400 individual medley at 11 a.m. ET.