Jan. 6, 2011
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By Wes Todd
Assistant Media Relations Director
COLUMBIA, S.C. – A Southeastern Conference foe and an in-state rival await South Carolina on Friday as the Gamecocks will swim at home for the second time this season, facing Kentucky and College of Charleston. Friday’s meet gets underway at 2 p.m. at the Blatt P.E. Center/Carolina Natatorium (diving begins at 1 p.m.).
The Gamecock men (3-0) are undefeated and ranked No. 23 in the latest CSCAA Dual Meet poll and are looking for their second straight victory over both the Wildcats and the Cougars. Carolina’s women (3-2, 1-1 SEC) will look to avenge a setback at the hands of Kentucky last season but remain undefeated all-time against Charleston.
Kentucky’s men are 2-4 on the season (0-1 SEC) after earning wins over Savannah College of Art & Design and Limestone College on Wednesday in Savannah, Ga. The Wildcats dropped their first four meets of the season to Southern Illinois, Missouri, Indiana and Tennessee. The Wildcat women are 4-2 overall (0-1 SEC) with wins over SCAD, Limestone, Southern Illinois and Missouri.
College of Charleston enters the meet with a 1-7 men’s record, earning a victory over SCAD in October. The Cougar women are 3-6 on the year with victories over Radford, SCAD and Campbell. Both Cougar squads took first place in Wingate University’s Fall Frenzy, which wrapped up the fall portion of the season.
Last year, Carolina’s men earned their first SEC victory under head coach McGee Moody in defeating Kentucky in the season opener 160-140 in Columbia. The Gamecock women fell to the Wildcats 168-130 that day. Against Charleston later in the 2009-10 season, the Gamecocks earned a sweep of the Cougars in Charleston with the men winning 131-89 and the women posting a 124-90 victory.
South Carolina is 6-12 all-time against Kentucky’s men, and the Gamecock women trail the all-time series against the Wildcats 11-7. Both Carolina’s men and women are a perfect 17-0 all-time against College of Charleston.
The Gamecocks enter the second half of the season with 10 individuals and two relay squads having already posted NCAA provisional times or NCAA Zone Diving qualifying scores. For the Gamecock men, sophomore Michael Flach leads the way with `B’ cuts in the 200 and 500 freestyle, along with the 200 butterfly. Fellow sophomore Brooks Ross has two `B’ cuts in the 500 and 1650 free. Freshman Gerard Rodriguez has a provisional qualifying time in the 200 free, and he is part of the 400 and 800 freestyle relay squads – along with Flach – that have posted NCAA `B’ cuts as well.
On the women’s side, freshman Rachael Schaffer has provisional times in the 200 breaststroke and the 200 and 400 individual medley, while classmate Amanda Rutqvist has qualifying times in the 100 and 200 breaststroke, setting a pair of school records in those events through just four collegiate meets.
In the diving well, four Gamecock women – Allison Barr, Courtney Forcucci, Chay Malvasio and Taryn Zack – have qualified for NCAA Zone competition, while sophomore Rylan Ridenour represents the men’s divers in that category. Barr, however, will be sidelined indefinitely after suffering numerous facial injuries and a mild concussion when she hit the board in practice earlier in the week.
Friday’s meet will follow the standard 16-event format with the 200 medley relay and 200 freestyle relay, along with the 200 IM and 1000 freestyle. One-meter diving gets underway at 1 p.m. with the swimming portion of the meet to commence at 2 p.m. Admission is free to all University of South Carolina home swimming & diving events, and fans can follow live results via SportsTiming.com or get periodic updates via Twitter by following @GamecockSwim.