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Nov. 21, 2009


COLUMBIA, S.C. – Freshman Michael Flach was the top qualifier in both the 200 backstroke and 200 butterfly preliminaries on Saturday morning, leading a contingent of 14 Gamecocks that earned spots in the evening’s championship finals on the closing day of the Gamecock Invitational.

Flach took top honors in the 200 back with a time of 1:49.93, less than a second ahead of third-place qualifier Chris Kelly (1:50.75). Dominique Lendjel took eighth place in 1:51.81 to give South Carolina three swimmers in the `A’ final. The Gamecocks got three more in the consolation final in James Crawford (1:52.06), Andy Atzhorn (1:53.48) and Trey Tharpe (1:53.49). Flach, a native from Annandale, Va., also was the top qualifier in the 200 fly with a 1:49.99, a season-best time. Isaac Badillo earned a spot in that event’s consolation finals with a 1:53.61.

Sophomore Armin Hornikel and freshman Bobby Cave were the top two qualifiers in the 200 breaststroke as Hornikel posted a 2:02.44 and Cave turned in a 2:04.03. Atzhorn just missed the championship final with a 2:10.08, earning the ninth seed in the consolation, with Ryan Connolly (2:12.21) and Collin Kaden (2:12.34) making the consolation as well. Sophomore David Livsey was the number two qualifier in the 100 freestyle, clocking in at 45.77 to grab a spot in the top final, and Ryan Langley (46.32), Rory Grigull (46.43), Alex Fitton (46.44) and Andrew Seiler (46.81) earned spots in the consolation final.

On the women’s side, Megan Sparks was the top qualifier in the 200 back with a time of 2:02.51, while freshman Haley Staubach is the third seed in the championship after posting a 2:03.06. Meridith McKee earned a spot in the `C’ final with a 22nd-place time of 2:09.11. Sharntelle McLean posted a 51.66 to make the championship final in the 100 freestyle with Bridget Halligan (52.84) and Claire Thompson (52.90) in the consolation final and Kristina Delp (52.95) making the bonus final.

Freshman Meghan Brockington rounded out the Gamecock contingent making championship finals with a 2:05.50 in 200 butterfly prelims to finish seventh overall. Kerry Abel (2:07.08) finished 15th and will swim in the consolation, as will Whitney Avers (2:07.13) who finished 16th. Sophomore Lydia Hackert was the Gamecocks’ top qualifier in the 200 breaststroke, finishing 16th with a 2:25.32, and Mallory Cage (2:28.17) and Alyssa Hand (2:28.84) qualified for the `C’ finals.

In the diving well, Taryn Zack continued to control the meet by advancing to finals as the top qualifier on the 3-meter board. She will be joined by Allison Barr, who finished fourth. Freshman Rylan Ridenour was the top qualifier in men’s 1-meter diving as well, with classmate Nikolas Sachs also advancing to finals.

The final session of the 2009 Gamecock Invitational gets underway at 6 p.m. Saturday with timed finals of the 1650 freestyle running concurrently with men’s 1-meter diving to kick off the meet. Admission is free.