Feb. 16, 2012
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — South Carolina senior diver Courtney Forcucci has compiled a long list of accomplishments during her Gamecock career, and after Thursday she can add one more that moves to the top of the list.
Forcucci set the SEC and school record on the women’s three-meter springboard with a score of 392.40 to win gold on Thursday night at the SEC Championships at the Allan Jones Aquatic Center. Forcucci broke the previous SEC record of 371.65, which was held by Auburn’s Vennie Dantin (2010). She also broke former Gamecock Taryn Zack’s school record of 389.03 (2010). Forcucci finished ahead of Tennessee’s Victoria Lamp (381.85).
“That was a great show,” South Carolina diving coach Todd Sherritt said. “I’m just elated. Coming off that broken leg a year and a half ago, this kid has just done it all. I shared this before, but if she’s on, nobody is going to touch her. That was an unbelievable performance, and it was against high-quality competition. I’m really happy for her. She’s really earned this.”
The medal is Forcucci’s second at this year’s Championships as she also won bronze on the one-meter springboard on Wednesday. She becomes the fifth Gamecock women’s diver to win a gold medal at the SEC Championships, joining Vivian Alberty, Allison Brennan, Michelle Davison and Zack.
“I haven’t digested all of this yet,” Forcucci said. “It was a really great meet and fun to compete in. Our team was great cheering, and I’ve really just enjoyed myself on the boards.”
The Gamecock swimmers also had a solid night as they produced four NCAA provisional qualifying times and had two second-place finishes in consolation finals.
“We were better tonight than we were this morning,” South Carolina head coach McGee Moody said. “I thought we had some folks that really stepped up and corrected some mistakes from this morning. Gerard Rodriguez had a lifetime best in his 500. Rachael Schaffer swam great. Matt Columbus scored for us. All in all it was a good night.”
Rodriguez gave the Gamecocks a solid start to the night as he finished second in the consolation final and 10th overall with a NCAA provisional qualifying time of 4:22.48, which is the sixth fastest time in school history and a personal best. Columbus finished eighth in the consolation final and 16th overall with a time of 4:30.22.
Schaffer gave Carolina another second-place finish in the consolation finals as she swam a NCAA B-cut of 1:58.64 in the women’s 200-yard IM, finishing just .16 of a second out of first place. She finished the event in 10th overall.
The Gamecocks had a strong finish to the night. After the women’s 200-yard freestyle relay team finished eighth with a time of 133.38, the men’s 200 freestyle relay team of Jay Warner, Andrew Seiler, Max Heinze and Collin Kaden placed seventh with a NCAA provisional qualifying time of 1:19.89. It was the second fastest time in school history, and Warner’s leadoff split of 20.00 was a NCAA B-cut and the fourth best time in school history in the 50-yard freestyle.
“The relays swam out of their mind at the end,” Moody said. “We did a great job with that.”
After two days of competition, the Gamecock women are in sixth place with a score of 116. Georgia is in the lead with 274 points. In the men’s competition, Carolina is seventh with 95 points. Auburn is in first with 301 points.
The Gamecocks return to action Friday morning at 10 in the preliminaries. Live results and live video will be available at utsports.com.
Thursday, February 16
2012 SEC Swimming & Diving Championships
Knoxville, Tenn. – Allan Jones Aquatic Center
Day 2 Finals Results
Men’s 500 Freestyle Consolation Final – Heat/Overall
2/10. Gerard Rodriguez 4:22.48 (NCAA B-cut, PR)
8/16. Matt Columbus 4:30.22
Women’s 200 IM – Heat/Overall
2/10. Rachael Schaffer 1:58.64 (NCAA B-cut)
Women’s Three-Meter Diving
1/1. Courtney Forcucci 392.40 (SEC/School Record)
Women’s 200 Freestyle Relay
8. Elliott, Brockington, Raczkowski, Schaffer 133.38
Men’s 200 Freestyle Relay
7. Warner, Seiler, Heinze, Kaden 119.89 (NCAA B-cut)
1. Auburn 301
2. Florida 276
3. Georgia 208
3. Tennessee 208
5. LSU 168
6. Kentucky 116
7. South Carolina 95
8. Alabama 67
1. Georgia 274
2. Tennessee 249
3. Auburn 228.5
4. Florida 198.5
5. LSU 176
6. South Carolina 116
7. Arkansas 113
8. Alabama 110
9. Kentucky 54
10. Vanderbilt 46