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March 9, 2011

By Wes Todd
Assistant Media Relations Director

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Sophomore swimmer Michael Flach will represent the University of South Carolina at the 2011 NCAA Men’s Swimming & Diving Championships, as the NCAA released the meet’s official psych sheet on Wednesday. The meet runs March 24-26 at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center in Minneapolis, Minn.

Flach, a native of Annandale, Va., will make his second straight appearance in the national championship meet. He earned an invitation by virtue of his top times in both the 500-yard freestyle (4:16.03) and 200-yard freestyle (1:35.39). Flach’s 500 freestyle time ranks sixth in the nation and is the fastest time in the nation below the NCAA automatic qualifying standard. It is also a school-record mark as he broke Jean Arnould’s 23-year-old record by more than a full second in winning his second straight bronze medal at last month’s SEC Championships. He is seeded 21st in the 200 free and will also compete in the 200 butterfly, where his top time this season is 1:45.36.

Last year, Flach competed in the NCAA Championships in Columbus, Ohio, as a freshman. He finished 27th in the 500 freestyle prelims with a time of 4:21.33, then clocked a 1:36.90 to take 33rd place in the 200 freestyle. He then set a then-personal record with a 1:46.71 in the 200 butterfly to close out the meet.

A total of 235 student-athletes from 41 different schools were invited to this year’s NCAA Men’s Championships. That number does not include 35 divers, which will earn their spots this weekend at the five various NCAA Zone Diving meets across the country. California earned the most invitations with 18 athletes selected, followed by defending national champion Texas with 17. Auburn and Florida led the SEC contingent with 14 selections, with the Tigers almost certain to add another diver or two.

Zone diving for the Gamecocks and other teams in the south region begins Thursday at the Gabrielsen Natatorium in Athens, Ga., where nine spots are up for grabs.