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Jan. 27, 2012


January 27, 2012
Rylan Ridenour

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina junior diver Rylan Ridenour set a school record on the men’s three-meter springboard with a score of 427.43 on Friday night to lead the Gamecock swimming and diving teams to a strong start in this weekend’s meet with East Carolina and Vanderbilt at the Blatt P.E. Center/Carolina Natatorium.

Ridenour’s score broke former South Carolina standout Andy Bradley’s record of 407.40, which was set in 2005.

“I’ve had a few meets where I’ve come really close to breaking the record,” Ridenour said. “It gets very frustrating to have a string of events like that where you get so close but just can’t reach it. It felt really good to finally break through and break it by 20 points.”

Ridenour helped South Carolina build a sizable advantage, as the Gamecock men lead East Carolina, 120-47, heading into Saturday morning’s second session. The South Carolina women hold a 129.5-37.5 lead over East Carolina and lead Vanderbilt, 130-34. On the day South Carolina finished first in 16 of the 18 events.

“We had some good races today,” South Carolina head coach McGee Moody said. “It was good to see a lot of our guys and girls turn the corner a little bit. We have two very good teams here at the pool this weekend, so I’m proud of where we are after tonight. Now the challenge is to carry things over to tomorrow morning and pick up racing where we left off tonight.”

Ridenour wasn’t the only Gamecock diver to have a big day, as freshman Cole Miller scored a career-high 389.03 to finish second on the three-meter springboard. Andrew Helmich placed third with a score of 283.72. Senior Courtney Forcucci won the women’s one-meter springboard with a score of 308.63, while freshman Patricia Kranz grabbed second with a score of 284.48.

The Gamecocks swept the 200-yard freestyle relay, as the team of Matea Peteh, Maggie Malaney, Lauren Raczkowski and Rachel Elliott swam a time of 1:35.87. The South Carolina men’s team of Michael Covert, Rory Grigull, Jay Warner and Andrew Seiler touched first in a time of 1:23.94.

The South Carolina women had a dominant showing in the women’s 200-yard IM, taking the top four spots. Sophomore Rachael Schaffer touched first in a time of 2:04.08, followed by freshman Annika Jonsson (2:07.87), sophomore Abby Galbreath (2:08.41) and sophomore Amanda Rutqvist (2:09.66). In the men’s race, Gamecock senior James Crawford swam a 1:52.15 to claim first, while sophomore Matt Navata produced a personal best of 1:52.57 to finish third.

Junior Jordan Gibbs finished first with a time of 4:58.65 in the women’s 500-yard freestyle to lead the Gamecocks, and teammate Whitney Avers touched second in 5:59.86. Sophomore Gerard Rodriguez led a 1-2-3 finish for the Gamecocks in the men’s race with a time of 4:31.74. Juniors Brooks Ross and Matt Columbus placed second and third, respectively, with times of 4:35.60 and 4:35.89.

South Carolina swept the breaststroke events, as Rutqvist won the women’s event in 1:05.07 and junior Bobby Cave touched first in the men’s race in 57.48.

Crawford and Covert finished 1-2 in the men’s 200-yard backstroke in times of 1:50.41 and 1:51.93, respectively.

Raczkowski and Elliott led the Gamecock women in the 100-yard freestyle, finishing first and second with times of 52.81 and 52.85.

The Gamecock women grabbed the top three spots in the 200-yard butterfly, led by Brooke Obeck with a career-best time of 2:03.82. Avers placed second in 2:04.81, and Schaffer took third in 2:04.89. In the men’s race, Navata touched first in a time of 12:51.76. Rodriguez placed second with a personal best of 1:51.89.

South Carolina closed out the day in strong fashion by winning the women and men’s 400-yard medley relay. The women’s team of Peteh, Rutqvist, Meghan Brockington and Schaffer swam a 3:52.68, while the men’s relay team of Warner, Cave, Isaac Badillo and Grigull grabbed first with a time of 3:23.41.

The Gamecocks will wrap up the regular season on Saturday with day two of their meet against ECU and Vanderbilt. The meet is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., with a Senior Day ceremony to be held prior to the start of the events.