Jan. 14, 2011
By Wes Todd
Assistant Media Relations Director
|Coach Moody Previews the Meet
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina swimming & diving travels to Durham, N.C., to renew its rivalry with the Duke Blue Devils and meet a fledgling Queens University of Charlotte program in dual-meet competition at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Taishoff Aquatic Pavilion.
The Gamecock men are 5-0 (1-0 SEC) for the first time in school history and ranked No. 23 in the latest TYR/CSCAA Dual Meet Rankings. Carolina’s women are 4-3 overall, 1-2 in SEC competition. Duke’s men are 2-1 on the season with a 1-1 mark in ACC competition while the Blue Devil women are 1-3 overall, 0-2 in the ACC. Queens, in its first season of swimming, is 2-4 in men’s dual-meet action while the Royals’ women are 0-5. The Royals’ men are ranked No. 19 in the latest Division II poll.
It will be the 11th all-time dual-meet clash between the South Carolina and Duke men’s teams; the Gamecocks hold an all-time 7-3 advantage in the series. On the women’s side, it will be the sixth meeting with Carolina holding a 4-1 edge.
Last year saw South Carolina’s men take a measure of revenge on the Blue Devils after Duke claimed a tight 153-145 victory in the last meeting in Durham in 2009. The Gamecocks got multiple career-best performances and rolled to a 171-129 win on Jan. 16, 2010, in Columbia. The women fell to Duke by a 176.5-123.5 margin. As will be expected in Saturday’s meet, the Gamecock distance corps won the day for South Carolina last year as Brooks Ross, Matt Columbus and Michael Flach were the big scorers for Carolina’s men.
Ross, Columbus and Flach – all sophomores – return to lead a Carolina squad that looks to build on its best start in school history. Bobby Cave will once again anchor the breaststroke events, while freshman Gerard Rodriguez will seek a second straight strong performance in the mid-distance freestyle. Maz Heinze, Chris Kelly and James Crawford will provide a spark in the backstroke competition and also in the relays.
Carolina’s women will need strong performances in the diving well from senior Taryn Zack and junior Courtney Forcucci as they continue to prepare for the SEC Championships. Freshmen Rachael Schaffer and Amanda Rutqvist have been a force in the breaststroke and individual medley events, and sophomores Whitney Avers, Jordan Gibbs and Lindsey Olson will look to counter a strong Duke distance corps.
The Gamecocks will have to contend with a number of returning All-Americans for the Blue Devils. In the men’s meet, Duke sophomore Nick McCrory is the defending NCAA Champion in platform diving, and finished second and fourth on the 3- and 1-meter boards, respectively, at last year’s NCAA Championships. On the women’s side, junior Abby Johnston captured a pair of All-America honors on the 1- and 3-meter boards, and senior Ashley Twichell returns as one of the top distance freestylers in the country after a 14th-place finish in the 1650 freestyle at last year’s NCAA meet.
Queens University is in its first year of NCAA Division II swimming and has a limited roster of just nine men and seven women. But that has not stopped them from being competitive in several meets and posting times that rank toward the top of NCAA Division II. Senior Jeremy Gregory, a transfer from Auburn, has the fastest time in D-II in the 200 butterfly and has the only `A’ cut in the nation in that event. He also has `B’ cut times in four other events. On the women’s side, Caitlin Seed, a transfer from Clemson, has Division II `B’ cut times in four events.
Saturday’s meet will follow the standard 16-event format with the 200 medley relay, 400 freestyle relay, 1000 freestyle and 400 IM. Diving will take place during the normal breaks. No live stats will be available, but fans can follow the action via Twitter by following @GamecockSwim.