Nov. 9, 2013
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The 25th-ranked University of South Carolina men’s swimming & diving team swam past LSU, 166-134 on at the Carolina Natatorium on Saturday morning, while the Tiger women posted a 168.50-131.50 victory over the Gamecock women.
The Gamecock men improved to 3-1 on the season, including a 1-1 mark in SEC action, while the women slipped to 1-3 overall and 0-2 in the SEC. The LSU men fell to 0-3 with all three losses coming against SEC opposition. The Tiger women evened their record at 2-2.
“From a standpoint of being as focused as we were today, I was really happy,” said head coach McGee Moody following the meet. “I thought we were focused on the men’s side and I thought our women swam great. We came up a little short on the women’s side, but that was by far our best meet that we’ve had. The LSU women’s team is in the top 25 or 30 every week of the year and we took them as far as we could,” noted Moody. “On the men’s side, we had some outstanding races. So we’re setting ourselves up to where we need to be. I think we’ve got ourselves in a good mindset going to Blacksburg in a couple of weeks.”
The Gamecock men were led by Kevin Leithold, a redshirt freshman from Sandersdorf, Germany. Leithold took home first place finishes in the 100-breaststroke, the 100-freestyle, the 100-butterfly and swam the anchor leg on the winning 400-freestyle relay.
“He had a huge day,” said Moody of Leithold. “The 100-breaststroke was big. That was the first time he got to swim the 100-fly this season, and his 100-freestyle was a huge win. That last relay, he split 43.7 in the 100 freestyle, one of the fastest free splits in the nation to date. I’m happy with him. We know he’s going to be automatic points every week.”
The Gamecocks also gained much-needed points in the diving events, with Patty Kranz and Cole Miller taking top honors on both boards.
“LSU is a great diving team,” noted Carolina diving coach Todd Sherritt. “I knew we could do it, but I was pretty amazed. Two great performances were from Patty Kranz stepping up on the three-meter and Cole (Miller). I don’t think he’s lost the three-meter yet and he’s gone up against good divers. People are going to be gunning for him in the conference. He’s really established himself,” added Sherritt.
Abby Galbreath earned the initial first-place finish for Carolina with a win in in the women’s 1000-yard freestyle, capturing the race in 10:14.90. Elizabeth Maltby and Annika Jonsson took third and fourth for the Gamecocks respectively, as the team garnered 14 points.
Carolina posted a pair of victories in the 100-yard breaststroke. Amanda Rutqvist took the top honors on the women’s side in a season-best time of 1:04.64, while Leithold won the men’s race in 55.36, also a season-best time.
LSU took the top spot in the next four races, winning both the men’s and women’s 200-yard butterfly and the men’s and women’s 50-yard freestyle to take an 80.5-50.5 lead on the women’s side and a slim 66-65 advantage in the men’s competition at the first break.
Leithold, who earlier captured the 100-yard breast, won for the second time in the 100-yard freestyle in a time of 44.87.
Mitchell claimed first for the women in the 200-yard backstroke in a time of 2:00.03. Michael Covert logged a second-place finish for the Carolina men with a time of 1;50.79.
Rutqvist won for the second time on the day, taking first place honors in the women’s 200-yard breaststroke in a time of 2:18.84. Jared Kauffman was the Gamecocks’ top finisher in the same event on the men’s side, taking second in 2:04.03.
Mitchell won for the second time on the day with a victory in the women’s 500-yard freestyle, taking top honors in 4:57.49. Rodriguez won for the second time as well, posting a time of 4:36.93 to garner the top spot in the men’s 500-yard freestyle. Michael Flach and Alex Eiden finished second and third, giving Carolina 16 team points.
Leithold won his third race of the day, taking first in the 100-yard butterfly in a time of 49.61. Lauren Raczkowsi took second in the women’s race in 57.60.
The Gamecock men improved to 5-3 in the all-time series with LSU, while the Carolina women have won just two of eight battles with the Tigers.
The next meet is the Virginia Tech Invitational, scheduled for November 21-23 in Blacksburg, Va.