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March 15, 2011

By Wes Todd
Assistant Media Relations Director

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina earned a top-25 finish in the final College Swimming Coaches Association of America Dual-Meet Rankings, finishing in a tie for 25th in the poll that was released Monday.

It was the first top-25 finish for South Carolina since the 2002 season when the Gamecocks were 13th in the final dual-meet ranking.

“I was extremely proud of our men this season for finishing the dual meet season in the top 25,” head coach McGee Moody said. “We’re looking forward to our men and women competing at the NCAA Championships. We just hope to get through the next two weeks and then start working toward a big summer season.”

The Gamecocks finished with a 10-1 overall record in dual-meet competition – the second 10-win season in school history – with a 2-1 mark against Southeastern Conference foes. The worksheet included wins over a pair of teams that finished in the final top 25. Carolina beat No. 21 Alabama (ranked No. 16 at the time) in the season’s final meet on Jan. 29, and the Gamecocks took down archrival Clemson on Oct. 29; the Tigers tied the Gamecocks for the 25th spot in the final ranking. South Carolina then earned a seventh-place finish at the SEC Championships, its best showing at the league meet since 2007.

South Carolina loses only one senior from the 2010-11 team and looks to reload for next season with what Moody calls a very strong recruiting class.

“The way our program has progressed over the last three years says a lot for the recruiting that our coaching staff has done, but also the kids,” Moody said. “We’ve got a young team, and a lot of it has started to develop through these last couple of classes. Next year’s class is small in numbers, but bigger in quality. We’re right on track where I thought we would be five years in, and we’re still moving forward.”

California finished No. 1 in the final poll, edging out archrival Stanford by a scant six points in the final ranking. SEC Champion Auburn was third, with six other SEC teams ranking in the final poll – No. 5 Florida, No. 9 Tennessee, No. 13 Georgia, No. 20 LSU, No. 21 Alabama and No. 25 South Carolina. Four teams that South Carolina defeated during the regular season – Kentucky, Missouri, Duke and East Carolina – received votes in the final rankings.

On the women’s side, the Gamecocks finished just outside the top 25, earning 27 votes in the final poll to take 29th overall. Georgia was named the dual-meet champion, with fellow SEC schools No. 4 Auburn, No. 8 Florida, No. 9 Tennessee, No. 18 LSU and No. 24 Arkansas rounding out the poll.

Three athletes will compete for the Gamecock women at the 2011 NCAA Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships, which run Thursday-Saturday in Austin, Texas. Carolina’s men will be represented by sophomore Michael Flach at the 2011 NCAA Men’s Swimming & Diving Championships, which run March 24-26 in Minneapolis, Minn.

1. California
2. Stanford
3. Auburn
4. Texas
5. Florida
6. Arizona
T7. Michigan
T7. Southern California
9. Tennessee
T10. Ohio State
T10. Virginia
12. Indiana
13. Georgia
14. North Carolina
15. Minnesota
16. UNLV
17. Texas A&M
18. Louisville
19. Purdue
20. LSU
21. Alabama
T22. Florida State
T22. Penn State
24. Iowa
T25. South Carolina
T25. Clemson

Also Receiving Votes: Princeton, Navy, SMU, Kentucky, Cal Poly, Northwestern, TCU, UC-Santa Barbara, Missouri, Harvard, Virginia Tech, Duke, Oakland, Wisconsin, CSU-Bakersfield, Columbia, Pittsburgh, Arizona State, Denver, Georgia Tech, Michigan State, East Carolina

1. Georgia
2. California
3. Stanford
4. Auburn
5. Southern California
6. Texas
7. Texas A&M
8. Florida
9. Tennessee
10. Arizona
11. Virginia
T12. Indiana
T12. North Carolina
14. Minnesota
15. Ohio State
16. Michigan
17. Wisconsin
18. LSU
19. Louisville
20. UCLA
21. Penn State
22. Purdue
23. Arizona State
24. Arkansas
25. SMU

Also Receiving Votes: Florida State, San Diego State, Missouri, South Carolina, Towson, Florida Gulf Coast, Alabama, Maryland, Ohio, Princeton, UW-Green Bay, UC-Davis, Cal Poly, UCSB, Notre Dame, Denver, Kentucky, Toledo, Miami (OH), NC State, Richmond, Boise State, BYU, East Carolina, Harvard, Kansas, Yale.