Feb. 23, 2008
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Nicholas Walkotten set a school record in the 200-yard butterfly as he captured Carolina’s top finish of the 2008 SEC Swimming and Diving Championship on Saturday, finishing second in the event. He posted an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 1:43.83 in the finals. Walkotten contributed 17 points for the Gamecocks for the day. Senior Christy Williams also competed in the finals of the 200 butterfly. She finished sixth with a season-best mark of 1:59.01 to contribute 13 points for the Carolina women.
“We finished on a great note tonight,” South Carolina head swimming coach McGee Moody said. “Nick swam his lifetime best tonight, and had an outstanding finish, and Christy also did a tremendous job. We look forward to building on this for seasons to come.”
The Auburn Tigers swept the SEC Championships with the Tiger men and women’s squads each earning the title. For the Auburn men, who scored 806 points to edge Florida with 712, it marks its 14th team title. For the women, Auburn claimed a 761.50-706 win over Florida. It marks the fifth team title for the Tiger women. Overall it marks the fourth time Auburn has swept the SEC team titles. The Gamecock men finished eighth with a total of 186, while the Carolina women finished ninth with a tally of 199.
Walkotten swam a strong preliminary heat of the 200 butterfly in the morning session. He set a season best during prelims and improved that mark in the finals by more than two full seconds. Walkotten finished ninth last season in the 200 fly at the NCAA Championship. His automatic qualifying time is the first A-cut qualifier for the Gamecocks this season. Walkotten broke the record of former USC great Zsolt Gaspar who set the previous mark of 1:43.85 in 2001.
Williams swam a solid preliminary heat, setting a then-season best time of 1:59.26 before improving the mark in the finals. Freshman Michael Lawrence also set a season best in the 200-yard breaststroke with a mark of 2:07.20 to finish 15th and advance to the consolation finals. He finished 16th overall with a time of 2:05.80, collecting one point.
Freshman twins Claire and Christine Thompson each scored points for the Gamecocks in the 1,650 freestyle. Claire finished 13th with a season best of 16:35.91, collecting four points. Christine captured her NCAA qualifier and contributed two points, finishing 15th with a mark of 16:48.01.
Freshman diver Allison Barr competed in the women’s 10-meter platform event. She tallied a six-dive total of 212.00 during the preliminary round to finish 10th and contribute seven points for the Carolina women.
Other notable swims for the day include sophomore Andrew Atzhorn’s performance in the 200-yard backstroke. He finished just outside of the consolation finals in the event with a time of 1:50.48. Senior Diana Lopez swam her top time of the season in the 100 freestyle (51.93), junior Todd Weyandt led Carolina in the 100 free (46.13) and junior Amanda Dunnigan just missed a spot in the consolation finals of the 200-yard breaststroke with a season best 2:19.17 to finish 17th.