March 16, 2012
AUBURN, Ala. — South Carolina senior diver Courtney Forcucci claimed fifth place in the three-meter springboard championship final on Friday night to earn her second All-America honor at the 2012 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships at the James E. Martin Aquatics Center.
Forcucci posted a six-dive total of 368.50 to score 14 huge points for the Gamecocks and take home the third All-America honor of her career and second at Carolina. As a team, South Carolina wrapped up the night in 25th place. The Gamecocks head into the final day of competition looking to record their first top-25 finish since placing 11th in 2004.
“I’m very happy with how today went,” Forcucci said. “I had a very solid prelims and built upon that in the finals. I felt like I competed very well under the pressure today. This was my first NCAA (championship) final. I was very happy with my diving.”
Forcucci becomes ninth South Carolina diver to earn two All-America honors at one national championship. South Carolina diving coach Todd Sherritt couldn’t have been more pleased with Forcucci’s effort on Friday.
“It was just outstanding,” Sherritt said. “She came a really long way off that broken leg to make this meet last year, and now she’s in the top five. That’s absolutely amazing. She’s put in an incredible amount of hard work this year. It was one of those things as a coach you see those performances that you remember for the rest of your life, and that was absolutely one of them.”
The Gamecocks had two swimmers compete earlier on Friday. For the second straight year, sophomore Rachael Schaffer narrowly missed earning her first All-America honor in the 400-yard IM. Schaffer swam a 4:10.29 to finish 17th overall in the preliminaries, missing out on the consolation finals by .50 seconds. She finished 17th at last year’s championships, coming up .89 seconds short of making the finals.
Sophomore Amanda Rutqvist swam in the 100-yard breaststroke competition for Carolina, finishing 33rd overall with a time of 1:01.30.
“It’s kind of heartbreaking for Rachael,” South Carolina head coach McGee Moody said. “She worked really hard all year, and for the second time in a row she finishes a half second behind in 17th. That hurts. As for Amanda, she was about where we thought she would be to be honest. It was a much faster and much deeper event this year. Her time was a little bit off, but it’s okay. She felt good, and it was a great race. Tomorrow is going to be big for her (in the 200-yard breaststroke). All in all it was a good day for us.”
Schaffer and Rutqvist will get one more opportunity to score for the Gamecocks on Saturday, as both are slated to swim in the 200-yard breaststroke. Forcucci will go for her third All-America honor in three days as she will compete on the platform. Preliminaries will get underway at noon, followed by the finals at 8 p.m. Live results will be available at NCAA.com.