March 24, 2011
By Wes Todd
Assistant Media Relations Director
MINNEAPOLIS – South Carolina sophomore swimmer Michael Flach earned his first career All-America honor Thursday night with a 15th-place finish in the 500-yard freestyle at the NCAA Men’s Swimming & Diving Championships.
Flach, a native of Annandale, Va., posted the ninth-fastest time in the morning’s preliminaries with a 4:17.76, missing a berth in the championship final by a scant 0.16 seconds. His closing 200 yards were among the fastest of anyone in the field, but he was outpaced by Texas’ Jackson Wilcox, who posted a 4:17.60. Flach, however, was unable to find the same gear in the evening finals, posting a time of 4:21.66 to finish in 15th place overall, earning two points for the Gamecocks.
He becomes just the second All-American in South Carolina history in the 500 freestyle. Jean Arnould, who previously held the school record in the event before Flach broke it at this year’s SEC Championships, was a two-time All-American in the event in 1987 and 1988. Flach is the 42nd different men’s swimmer or diver from South Carolina to be named an All-American.
South Carolina is in 25th place after the first night of competition. Texas leads a tight competition with 139 points, with Stanford (136) and California (134) close behind. Auburn leads the SEC contingent in 4th place with 110.5 points.
Flach will return on Friday to compete in the 200-yard freestyle. Live results are available through NCAA.com, and live video of the preliminaries can be obtained by visiting gophersports.com. ESPN3 will have coverage of the finals on Friday and Saturday.