Feb. 12, 2011
By Wes Todd
Assistant Media Relations Director
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – What a way to cap off a Southeastern Conference career.
South Carolina senior Taryn Zack set the SEC Championship record in 1-meter diving and won her second SEC title on Saturday night, giving the Gamecocks their 10th all-time SEC diving championship at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center Natatorium.
Zack’s score of 336.55 broke a four-year old SEC Championships 1-meter record of 333.90, previously set by Kentucky’s Taryn Ignacio at the 2007 league meet. She also became South Carolina’s fourth diver to win multiple SEC Championships, joining Allison Brennan, Michelle Davison and Vivian Alberty in that elite club.
The senior from Stony Plain, Alberta, Canada, hung around through the first few rounds, posting solid dives throughout. She made her move into second place in the third round with a 57.60 on her reverse 1 1/2, giving her a 215.65 and putting her just behind LSU’s Becca St. Germain. Zack then took the lead in round five with a 58.50 on her front 2 1/2, easing in front of St. Germain who was just a bit off on her double twister.
Needing a 57-point dive on the final attempt of the night after St. Germain posted a big number with her final attempt, Zack came through with the highest-scoring dive of the night, a 62.40 on her back twister to clinch her second SEC title and set the conference championship record in the process.
Not to be lost in Zack’s triumph was an outstanding performance by junior Courtney Forcucci, who just missed the medal stand with a personal-record score of 315.95 to finish in fourth place. Forcucci led after the first round with a 60.00 on her opening dive, then was steady throughout the competition and never fell below fourth place. Only a near-perfect final dive by Auburn’s Vennie Dantin bumped Forcucci to fourth place as Dantin took third behind Zack and St. Germain.
Forcucci, a native of Fort Mill, S.C., who transferred to South Carolina from Houston prior to last season, made the most of her second opportunity after a disappointing performance in the 3-meter preliminaries on Friday. She adds a fifth finals appearance to her career resume that includes a Conference USA championship in 3-meter diving and three C-USA runner-up honors.
Forcucci will have one more opportunity to score points for the Carolina women as she competes in the 10-meter platform preliminaries for the first time as a Gamecock on Sunday. That event gets underway at 11 a.m. at the O’Connell Center Natatorium.
2011 SEC Diving Championships
Women’s 1-Meter Diving Final Results
Stephen C. O’Connell Center Natatorium – Gainesville, Fla.
1. Taryn Zack, South Carolina – 336.55
2. Becca St. Germain, LSU – 331.15
3. Vennie Dantin, Auburn – 326.40
4. Courtney Forcucci, South Carolina – 315.95
5. Anna Aguero, Auburn – 310.00
6. Monica Dodson, Florida – 307.20
7. Gabrielle Trudeau, Tennessee – 304.90
8. Paige McCleary, Alabama – 290.90