Oct. 28, 2010
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COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina’s biggest rivalry in swimming & diving will be renewed for the penultimate time on Friday as the Clemson Tigers visit the newly-renovated Blatt P.E. Center/Carolina Natatorium for a 5 p.m. dual meet.
With Clemson announcing that the university would be phasing out its swimming & diving program, it will be the final time for the Tigers to compete against the Gamecocks in Columbia; Carolina will travel to Clemson next year to close out the series that dates back to 1923.
Both teams enter the meet unbeaten. The Gamecock men are 1-0 after breezing past Western Kentucky two weeks ago, and the Carolina women are 2-0 (1-0 SEC) after a tri-meet sweep over WKU and Vanderbilt. Clemson enters the meet with both its men’s and women’s teams at 1-0 after easy wins over Davidson earlier this month.
It will be the home opener for South Carolina in its “new” facility – the nearly 40-year-old Blatt P.E. Center/Carolina Natatorium received a major facelift over the summer in which a new lighting system was installed, significantly improving the brightness of the facility. In addition, a new pool deck was put in place, a fresh coat of paint was applied to the walls and seating areas, and the timing/meet control area was also redesigned.
Last season, the Gamecocks dropped a heartbreaker at Clemson with both the men’s and women’s competitions coming down to the final two events. The men dropped a 155-145 decision while the women fell 160-140 after coming up just short in the last relay. Carolina holds an all-time 37-31-1 advantage in the all-time men’s series; the Gamecock women lead the series 19-16.
South Carolina enters the meet on a high note after five of its student-athletes were named Athletes of the Week by the Southeastern Conference following the Vanderbilt/WKU meet. Leading the way was Rachael Schaffer, who was named SEC Freshman of the Week after winning two events and posting an NCAA `B’ cut time of 2:16.16 in the 200 breaststroke. Junior Courtney Forcucci and sophomore Rylan Ridenour swept the SEC Diver of the Week awards after dominating victories on both boards. Junior Chris Kelly was named the SEC Male Swimmer of the Week after winning both backstroke events, and Gerard Rodriguez earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors by winning his first collegiate event as well.
Men’s and women’s 1-meter diving gets underway at 4 p.m. with the swimming portion of the meet slated for a 5 p.m. start. Admission is free to the public, and free pizza will be available for students in addition to Student Rewards points for those enrolled in that program. Live scoring will also be available through SportsTiming.com.
ORDER OF EVENTS
4 p.m. – Men’s/Women’s 1-meter diving
5 p.m. – Swimming events begin:
–200 medley relay
–3-meter diving (women)
–3-meter diving (men)
–200 individual medley
–400 freestyle relay