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Nov. 8, 2012

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November 8, 2012

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina swimming and diving teams will compete in their final dual meet of the fall schedule on Friday against College of Charleston.

The meet will be held at two venues, with the Cougars hosting the swimming and the Gamecocks hosting the diving. The swimming events are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. at the Stern Center Pool in Charleston, S.C., while the diving portion of the meet will be held at the Blatt P.E. Center/Carolina Natatorium at 7 p.m. in Columbia.

“One of the benefits of having the facilities that we have is we have an excellent diving facility,” South Carolina head coach McGee Moody said. “Their divers actually asked if they could come up here and dive here, so we agreed to do that. It is kind of unique, but it’s something that I think is going to work out best for everybody.”

South Carolina enters the meet looking to get back on the winning track. The Gamecocks have faced a brutal schedule through three meets this season as they have competed against national powers Texas A&M, North Carolina, Florida and Virginia. All four of the women’s opponents are currently ranked in the top 15, while three of the men’s opponents (No. 2 Florida, No. 8 Virginia and No. 11 North Carolina) are in the top 15. Texas A&M was also ranked No. 21 in the first CSCAA Poll of the season.

The 21st-ranked Gamecock men (1-3) are coming off a 160-126 loss at Virginia, while the Carolina women (0-4) dropped a 161-124 decision to the Cavaliers. The diving corps gave South Carolina another strong effort against the Cavaliers, as senior Rylan Ridenour swept the men’s boards and sophomore Patricia Kranz won the women’s three-meter springboard. In the pool, junior Amanda Rutqvist came away with the lone wins for the Gamecocks as she placed first in both the 100 and 200 breaststroke.

South Carolina has some of the fastest times in the country heading into the weekend. Junior Michael Flach ranks 14th in the 200 butterfly (1:48.23), 19th in the 200 IM (1:50.95) and 18th in the 200 freestyle (1:38.56). Junior Matt Navata has two times in the top 25 as he ranks 24th in the 200 IM (1:51.24) and 23rd in the 400 IM (3:58.47), while junior Gerard Rodriguez has the 22nd fastest time in the 200 freestyle (1:38.77). On the women’s side, Rutqvist has the 18th best time in the 200 breaststroke (2:14.87).

College of Charleston heads into the meet with a 0-2 record on the men’s side and a 0-3 mark for the women’s team. Both teams lost to Georgia Tech and Davidson, while the Cougar women also fell to Georgia Southern. The Cougar men’s program won the Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association Championships last season, while the women’s team went 4-7.

The Gamecocks will attempt to continue their success against College of Charleston, as both the men and women’s programs are 18-0 all-time when facing the Cougars. The programs last met on Jan. 7, 2011. South Carolina swept the meeting, winning the men’s competition, 251-47, and taking the women’s meet, 236-57.

“Right now what you have to look at is where we have been the last three or four weeks,” Moody said. “We’ve swam against some of the top competition in the country, and I think that’s prepared us for this weekend. For the most part, this is a last chance opportunity for us to fine-tune our races before we go to our invitational next week at Virginia Tech.”

Admission to the diving meet on Friday night is free. Fans can park in the lot adjacent to Carolina Natatorium and enter the building through the doors located under the Gamecock awning.