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Feb. 16, 2011


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By Wes Todd
Assistant Media Relations Director

Coach Memont

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – South Carolina’s 800-yard freestyle relay team set a school record, and all four relay squads posted NCAA provisional qualifying times – as did two swimmers on leadoff legs – on the first night of the 2011 SEC Swimming Championships at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center Natatorium.

Carolina’s 800 free relay squad of Michael Flach, Alex Fitton, Chris Kelly and Gerard Rodriguez posted a time of 6:27.30, the fastest time in school history by more than a full second, to finish fifth in the race and post an NCAA `B’ cut. Flach’s leadoff leg of 1:35.66 just missed his career-best 200 free time as he was in third place behind Florida’s Conor Dwyer and Auburn’s Adam Brown. Dwyer set the SEC record on his 200 free leadoff leg, and the Gators also set the league mark in winning the event by more than seven seconds.

In the women’s 800 freestyle relay, freshman Rachael Schaffer posted the third-best 200 freestyle time in school history with a 1:48.05 leadoff leg, her fourth NCAA `B’ cut of the season, and the team of Schaffer, Lindsey Olson, Kelly Tannhauser and Whitney Avers won the first heat with a 7:19.66. It was the sixth-fastest time in school history and gave the Gamecocks their fourth NCAA `B’ cut in the evening’s relays. Schaffer’s time was a season- and career-best by exactly four seconds. Georgia’s women won the event with a 6:53.58, setting an SEC and American record.

The Carolina men started off the night with an eighth-place finish in the 200 medley relay, as the team of Max Heinze, Bobby Cave, Isaac Badillo and Andrew Seiler posted a time of 1:29.30. It was the second-fastest time in school history in the event, only .06 seconds shy of the school record, and was the Gamecocks’ first NCAA `B’ cut of the 2011 SEC Championships. Florida took the victory with a 1:24.94, the fastest time in the nation this year.

Carolina’s women followed suit with a 1:41.78 in their 200 medley relay, winning the first heat over Arkansas and Vanderbilt and finishing eighth overall. The team of Megan Sparks, Amanda Rutqvist, Bridget Halligan and Lauren Raczkowski swam the third-fastest time in school history, 0.23 seconds shy of the school record, and an NCAA `B’ cut time of their own. Auburn won the event in 1:36.11, setting an SEC Championship record.

After one day of swimming action, the Gamecock men are in eighth place with 50 points, while the Carolina women are in third place with a total of 108 points. Auburn’s men and women lead the competition as they did at the end of last weekend’s diving championships. A total of five SEC records and one American record fell on the first night of the four-day meet.

The second day of action gets underway at 10 a.m. Thursday with preliminaries in the 500 freestyle, 200 individual medley and 50 freestyle. Live video and results are available at, and fans can receive frequent updates via Twitter by following @GamecockSwim.

2011 SEC Swimming Championships – Day One
February 15, 2011
Stephen C. O’Connell Center Natatorium – Gainesville, Fla.

Men’s 200 Medley Relay
1. Florida (Loughran, Dwyer, Cieslak, Fraser) – 1:24.94
8. South Carolina (Heinze, Cave, Badillo, Seiler) – 1:29.30
Women’s 200 Medley Relay
1. Auburn – 1:36.11 (SEC Record)
8. South Carolina (Sparks, Rutqvist, Halligan, Raczkowski) – 1:41.78
Men’s 800 Freestyle Relay
1. Florida – 6:13.74 (SEC Record)
5. South Carolina (Flach, Fitton, Kelly, Rodriguez) – 6:27.30 (School Record)
Women’s 800 Freestyle Relay
1. Georgia – 6:53.58 (SEC & American Record)
7. South Carolina (Schaffer, Olson, Tannhauser, Avers) – 7:19.66

1. Auburn – 201
2. Tennessee – 199.5
3. Florida – 129
4. LSU – 99.5
5. Alabama – 93
6. Kentucky – 92
7. Georgia – 73
8. South Carolina – 50

1. Auburn – 166
2. Florida – 153
3. South Carolina – 108
4. Georgia – 106
5. Tennessee – 96
6. LSU – 93.5
7. Kentucky – 83
8. Arkansas – 76
9. Alabama – 73.5
10. Vanderbilt – 32