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Feb. 16, 2012

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — South Carolina sent three swimmers to the finals on Thursday at the 2012 SEC Championships at the Allan Jones Aquatic Center on the campus of the University of Tennessee.

Sophomore Rachael Schaffer led the way as she finished 10th in the women’s 200-yard IM preliminaries with a NCAA B-cut of 1:59.47 to qualify for the consolation finals. The Gamecock men sent two swimmers to the 500-yard freestyle consolation finals, as sophomore Gerard Rodriguez and junior Matt Columbus finished 10th and 16th, respectively. Rodriguez recorded a NCAA provisional qualifying time of 4:23.93, while Columbus advanced with a time of 4:28.14.

On the day, the Gamecocks achieved three NCAA provisional qualifying times and 12 personal bests.

“The 500 free was good for us,” South Carolina coach McGee Moody said. “Gerard and Matt had good swims for us. Brooks Ross just missed out. This 200 IM would be the fastest 200 IM in any conference in the country by far. That’s the deepest 200 IM that I’ve seen here. I thought Rachael swam well and put herself in position to move up tonight. We will see where we go tonight. Bottom line is we have to move up tonight because night swims for a lot of teams here are few and far between. You have to take advantage of the ones you get. I’m happy with where we are. We had a good morning.”

The women’s 500 freestyle kicked off the day, as junior Whitney Avers led the way for the Gamecocks with a 19th-place showing with a personal best of 4:53.57. Junior Jordan Gibbs claimed 21st (4:55.12), while junior Lindsey Olson (4:57.14) and freshman Charlotte Ward (5:00.92 PR) finished 24th and 27th, respectively.

Joining Rodriguez and Columbus in the men’s 500 freestyle for Carolina were junior Brooks Ross and senior Dan Jackson. Ross swam a time of 4:29.39 to wrap up the preliminary in 18th overall, while Jackson touched in 4:36.53 to finish 25th.

The Gamecock women had three personal bests in the 200 IM to go along with Schaffer’s finals-clinching performance. Freshman Annika Jonsson swam a PR of 2:01.84 to finish 23rd. Sophomore Abby Galbreath claimed 27th in a time of 2:02.68. Senior Aileen Atzhorn produced a PR of 2:04.29 to finish 38th.

In the men’s 200 IM, senior James Crawford swam a 1:49.78 to lead the Gamecocks with a 24th-place showing. Sophomore Matt Navata (1:50.59) and freshman Alex Vance (1:52.12) both swam personal bests to finish 28th and 32nd, respectively.

Freshman Rachel Elliott led Carolina in the women’s 50-yard freestyle as her PR of 23.50 was good enough for 29th. In the men’s race, senior Andrew Seiler had a strong showing as he narrowly missed the consolation final. Seiler swam a NCAA provisional qualifying time of 20.26 to finish 19th.

The finals begin tonight at 6 at the Allan Jones Aquatic Center. Live results and live video will be available at

Thursday, February 16
2012 SEC Swimming & Diving Championships
Knoxville, Tenn. – Allan Jones Aquatic Center
Day 2 Preliminary Results
Women’s 500 Freestyle
19. Whitney Avers 4:53.57 (PR)
21. Jordan Gibbs 4:55.12
24. Lindsey Olson 4:57.14
27. Charlotte Ward 5:00.92 (PR)

Men’s 500 Freestyle
10. Gerard Rodriguez 4:23.93 (NCAA B-cut)
16. Matt Columbus 4:28.14
18. Brooks Ross 4:29.39
25. Dan Jackson 4:36.53

Women’s 200 IM
10. Rachael Schaffer 1:59.47 (NCAA B-cut)
23. Annika Jonsson 2:01.84 (PR)
27. Abbey Galbreath 2:02.68
38. Aileen Atzhorn 2:04.29 (PR)
40. Amanda Rutqvist 2:04.68
X. Lauren Rosenberg 2:08.30 (PR)

Men’s 200 IM
24. James Crawford 1:49.78
27. Collin Kaden 1:50.10
28. Matt Navata 1:50.59 (PR)
32. Alex Vance 1:52.12 (PR)
36. Bobby Cave 1:53.70

Women’s 50 Freestyle
29. Rachel Elliott 23.50 (PR)
31. Lauren Raczkowski 23.73 (PR)
39. Morgan Brooks 24.41
X. Taylor Josserand 24.47 (PR)

Men’s 50 Freestyle
19. Andrew Seiler 20.26 (NCAA B-cut, PR)
28. Graham Kauffman 20.89 (PR)
38. Jake White 21.32
44. Isaac Badillo 21.85