Nov. 19, 2010
By Wes Todd
Assistant Media Relations Director
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Freshmen Rachael Schaffer and Amanda Rutqvist set school records, sophomore Michael Flach set a meet record in the 200 free, and the Gamecocks earned four individual NCAA `B’ cuts and one relay cut on Friday night at the Nike Cup Invitational.
The Gamecock men moved up to second place with 498 points, and the Carolina women remained in second place with a score of 377. The host Tar Heels lead both men’s and women’s competitions.
Schaffer, a freshman from Baltimore, Md., recorded the fastest 400 IM time in school history with a 4:14.12, more than a full second faster than Amanda Dunnigan’s previous mark of 4:15.48, set at the 2009 SEC Championships. She won by more than a second and a half over UNC’s Laura Moriarty and lowered what was already an NCAA `B’ cut time in the event. The effort ranks as the fourth-fastest time in the country so far this season in just her third time to swim the event as a collegian.
Rutqvist just missed the 100 breaststroke championship final with her preliminary swim, but that didn’t stop her from breaking Lindsey Tiberio’s six-year-old school record in the consolation final. She posted an NCAA `B’ cut time of 1:01.77 to win the B-final and post a time that would have placed her fourth in the championship final.
The two freshman phenoms weren’t the only record-setters for Carolina on this night. Sophomore Michael Flach clocked a personal-best and a Nike Cup meet record in the 200 freestyle, posting a 1:35.53 for the second-fastest time in school history and the current fastest time in the nation this year. He fell just short of the school record, a 1:34.09 by Kyle Cormier in 2009. Freshman Gerard Rodriguez improved his NCAA `B’ cut time in the evening swim, posting a 1:37.72 to finish third in the race.
The Gamecock men’s 800 freestyle relay team wrapped up the night in style as Flach, Rory Grigull, Chris Kelly and Rodriguez won the event with an NCAA provisional time of 6:34.09, eking out a victory over North Carolina’s top squad. Flach had a leadoff leg of 1:36.33, a time that would have been his personal-best in the 200 freestyle if not for his earlier record-setting swim.
The rest of the Gamecocks had a solid night as well. Freshman Abby Galbreath and sophomore Whitney Avers turned in solid swims of their own in the 400 IM with Galbreath clocking a personal-best 4:26.84 and Avers touching in 4:27.15 to take 11th and 12th, respectively. Aileen Atzhorn finished 16th in 4:34.91. Senior Bridget Halligan turned in a personal-record time of 56.41 in the 100 fly to finish 10th, and Haley Staubach took 16th with a 57.63. Freshman Kelly Tannhauser went 1:53.24 to finish 15th in the 200 free while Lindsey Olson (1:53.92), Whitney Avers (1:54.09), Matea Peteh (1:54.88) and Jordan Gibbs (1:55.47) performed well in the C-final. And in the 100 backstroke, senior Megan Sparks (56.97) and Lauren Rosenberg (56.98) finished 10th and 11th, respectively, with Haley Staubach (57.52) in 15th.
On the men’s side, sophomore Max Heinze shaved a tenth of a second off his prelim time to finish fourth in the 100 back in 50.13, and freshman Jay Warner went 50.43 to earn a seventh-place finish. James Crawford won the 100 back consolation final in 51.14 and took 14th in the 200 free with a 1:42.20; Rory Grigull (1:41.85), Matt Columbus (1:42.09) and Brooks Ross (1:42.13) performed well in the 200 free C-final.
Sophomore Bobby Cave clocked a 55.92, barely missing an NCAA `B’ cut in the 100 breast, to finish fifth. Andrew Seiler was 14th with a 58.14, and Collin Kaden took 20th with a 58.21. Chris Kelly took 10th place in the 400 IM with a 3:59.42, and Ryan Connolly won the C-final with a 4:05.40.
The men’s 200 medley relay team took a second-place finish as Heinze, Cave, Badillo and Seiler posted a 1:30.88 for the eighth-fastest time in school history. Carolina’s women’s team of Sparks, Rutqvist, Shaylyn Blake and Halligan posted a 1:44.55 to take sixth place in their 200 MR, and their 800 free relay team of Schaffer, Olson, Peteh and Tannhauser finished seventh with a 7:36.77.
In the diving well, the Gamecock women advanced three to the finals with Taryn Zack taking runner-up honors on the 1-meter board with a score of 302.80, finishing close behind Duke’s Abby Johnston, a three-time USA Diving national champion. Courtney Forcucci took third with a 298.70 and Allison Barr took eighth place with a 240.10. On the men’s side, Rylan Ridenour took seventh place on the 3-meter board with a 322.70.
South Carolina will wrap up the weekend with one more session on Saturday at the Koury Natatorium, as the teams will compete in the 100 and 1650 freestyle and the 200s in the back, breast and fly. Prelims get underway at 10 a.m. Saturday with live results available through tarheelblue.com.