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Jan. 28, 2012

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January 28, 2012

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina swimming and diving teams closed out the regular season in dominant fashion on Saturday as they swept East Carolina and Vanderbilt on Senior Day at the Blatt P.E. Center/Carolina Natatorium.

The Gamecock women defeated Vanderbilt, 187-122, and East Carolina, 180.5-140.5, while the South Carolina men topped East Carolina 186-152. South Carolina won nine of the first 11 events before taking exhibition times in the last nine events to conclude the two-day dual meet.

“We did a pretty good job,” South Carolina head coach McGee Moody said. “We weren’t quite as sharp as we were during Friday’s portion of the meet, but that wasn’t totally unexpected. Overall, I was pretty happy. They raced hard and gave a great effort. For some people this was their last meet of the year, and they did a really good job.”

The South Carolina women finish the year at 7-3 overall and 2-2 in the SEC to give them back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 1994-95. The Gamecock men are now 5-4 on the season and 0-3 in the conference, giving them back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 1993-94.

The Gamecocks picked up where they left off on Friday as they got off to a strong start, winning both the women and men’s 200-yard medley relay. The South Carolina women’s team of Matea Peteh, Amanda Rutqvist, Lauren Raczkowski and Rachel Elliott swam a 1:48.34 to take first, while the Gamecock men’s team of Jay Warner, Andrew Seiler, Isaac Badillo and Collin Kaden claimed first with a time of 1:31.99.

The diving corps came up big for the Gamecocks for the second-straight day, winning the women’s three-meter and men’s one-meter springboards. Senior Courtney Forcucci capped her Gamecock dual-meet career with a first-place score of 351.38 in the three-meter competition. Forcucci has recorded wins in all but two events in dual meets for South Carolina this season. Freshman Patricia Kranz posted an exhibition score of 320.55. In the men’s competition, junior Rylan Ridenour followed up Friday’s record-breaking three-meter performance with a stellar effort on the one-meter board as he placed first with a score of 382.58. Freshman Cole Miller took second with a score of 341.93.

“I was very happy with my team overall,” South Carolina diving coach Todd Sherritt said. “We won every event, and it was just a great performance by Courtney, Patti, Rylan and Cole. Everybody performed well this weekend.”

South Carolina had a solid day in the distance events, as freshman Brooke Obeck swam a personal best of 17:13.90 to cruise to a win the women’s 1,650-yard freestyle. Teammate Sara Columbus took second with a career-best time of 17:35.95. In the men’s 1,000-yard freestyle, Gamecocks junior Brooks Ross touched first with a time of 9:29.78, followed by teammates Matt Columbus (9:33.24) and Dan Jackson (9:47.99).

Seiler won his first 50-yard freestyle race of the season with a time of 20.94, while Warner gave the Gamecock men a first-place finish in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 51.63. Sophomore Maryn Bieganski swam a personal best of 59.14 to finish second in the women’s race.

Sophomore Rachael Schaffer recorded South Carolina’s last win of the meet with a time of 2:22.87 in the women’s 200-yard breaststroke.

The Gamecocks will now begin to taper in preparation for the SEC Championships, which will be held Feb. 15-18 in Knoxville, Tenn.