Nov. 4, 2010
By Wes Todd
Assistant Media Relations Director
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina takes its undefeated men’s and women’s swimming & diving records on the road for the second time this season as the Gamecocks travel to Fayetteville, Ark., on Friday, Nov. 5. The Gamecock women will swim a tri-meet with Missouri and host Arkansas, and the Carolina men will face the Tigers only in a dual meet.
The Gamecock men are 2-0 after wins over Western Kentucky and Clemson to begin the season. Carolina’s women are 3-0 (1-0 SEC) after sweeping Vanderbilt and WKU three weeks ago then taking down the archrival Tigers last Friday. Arkansas’ women enter the meet 3-1 (1-1 SEC); the Razorbacks do not field a men’s team. Missouri’s men are 2-0 overall, and its women are 2-1 (1-0 Big 12).
This will be the 11th meeting between Arkansas and South Carolina in women’s swimming & diving. The Gamecocks hold an 8-2 advantage in the all-time series. The Gamecocks won the last meeting on Oct. 13, 2006, by a score of 149-89 in Columbia. Carolina’s men were 2-0 all-time against the Razorbacks before Arkansas dropped its men’s program following the 1996 season. This will be the first meeting between South Carolina and Missouri in swimming & diving.
Carolina continues to rely on its diving squad to provide big points in each meet – and with good reason. The Gamecocks are undefeated in four diving events on both the men’s and women’s teams. Sophomore Rylan Ridenour has been named SEC Diver of the Week after both meets this season; he has won all four times he has competed this year. Junior Courtney Forcucci has won three times – including both 3-meter competitions – and senior Taryn Zack won on the 1-meter board vs. Clemson.
Sophomore Michael Flach leads the Gamecock men, winning four of five individual swims over his two meets this year. Fellow sophomores Brooks Ross and Matt Columbus are poised to continue swimming strong times in the distance freestyle events, and Bobby Cave – another sophomore – is one of the league’s best in the breaststroke. For the women, freshmen Rachael Schaffer and Amanda Rutqvist will pose a strong 1-2 punch in the breaststroke events, and senior Bridget Halligan will look for a big meet in the sprint freestyle races.
Despite the loss of two-time SEC Champion Yi-Ting Siow, Arkansas continues to be a formidable foe in the league. Arkansas is led by Chelsea Franklin, who has the SEC’s fourth-best time in the 1000 free (9:56.16) and an NCAA `B’ cut in the 500 free (4:50.58). Freshman Carly Mercer is strong in the sprint events as she has won the 50 free in both meets thus far. The Razorbacks’ top diver is freshman Kesha Naylor.
The Tiger men are 2-0 with just one meet under their belts this year, a sweep of Southern Illinois and Kentucky on Oct. 16 in Carbondale, Ill. The Tigers defeated SIU 153-141 and took out the Wildcats 165.5-128.5. Mizzou also took third place at the Southwest Plunge in Dallas last weekend, defeating SMU and TCU and finishing behind Texas and Texas A&M. Missouri is led by Roko Simunic, who specializes in the 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke, and by Michael Lopresti, who was named Big 12 Swimmer of the Week after the Tigers’ win in Carbondale.
Missouri’s women are 2-1 overall after defeating Southern Illinois 198-100 and falling to Kentucky 152-147. The Tigers also earned a Big 12 victory over rival Kansas last week, defeating the Jayhawks 165-129. Mizzou is led by Dominique Bouchard, who has the second-best time in the Big 12 in the 200 backstroke, and by Stephanie Rovig, who specializes in the distance freestyle events. The Tigers’ top diver is Loren Figueroa.
Friday’s action gets underway at 3 p.m. ET from the Arkansas Natatorium on the campus of the University of Arkansas. Live results are available by clicking the link at the top of the page, or by visiting arkansasrazorbacks.com.