Jan. 24, 2014
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina men’s and women’s swimming teams had a stellar day in the water on day one of the its final home meet of the season as the teams combined to win 12 of 16 events at the Carolina Natatorium. In 11 of the wins, the Gamecocks grabbed the top two spots in the race, and finished 1-2-3 in four of them.
The Carolina women currently hold a 130-18 lead over Wingate and a 124-24 advantage over Queens. The men have a 104-44 edge over Wingate, while holding a 103-45 lead on Queens.
“We swim this meet this way to create momentum at night and to carry it over to the next morning,” head coach McGee Moody said. “It’s really important when we get to SEC’s and NCAA’s, that when you have that speed at night, you’re able to build on that going into the next session.
“The guys did a great job, but the ladies, they have come around in the last couple of weeks to a team that I haven’t seen in a very, very long time. They’re confident and swimming fast. We had some races tonight from some of our women that I think put them on the map a little bit which is great. They’ve worked so hard and you want for them to be there, and when they finally break through and get it, that’s what being a coach is all about.”
The group’s depth was on display as no one individual claimed more than one event win on the day, and it even saw teammates very close races with one another. In the women’s 100 breaststroke, Elise Weisert narrowly topped Amanda Rutqvist with a time of 1:05.17, just two one-hundredths of a second faster than the senior. In the 200 backstroke, Megan Carlson and Lauren Rosenberg each went well below their personal best, dropping under the two-minute mark. Carlson bested her teammate with a time of 1:58.90, just under two-tenths of a second ahead of Rosenberg.
The tightest race though amongst themselves came in the women’s 100 freestyle which Taylor Vincent grabbed the win with a time of 52.11, one one-hundredth of a second ahead of Sara Drake.
Despite races not being as tight compared to some, the Gamecocks depth shined in the women’s 500 freestyle, men’s 200 backstroke, the women’s 200 butterfly and the women’s 400 medley relay which saw Carolina go 1-2-3. Elizabeth Maltby secured the win in the 500 freestyle with a time of 5:00.60. Alex Eiden claimed the 200 backstroke with a mark of 1:47.78. Katie O’Brien took the 200 butterfly at 2:02.75. The 400 medley relay team of Victoria Mitchell, Caroline Bixler, Rutqvist and Raczkowski pulled off the win clocking in at 3:51.48.
The Gamecocks swept today’s relays, earning first and second place in all, but one. Aside from the women’s 400 medley team, the 200 women’s freestyle relay was won by Caroline Petrone, Rachel Elliott, Vincent and Raczkowski while the men’s was won by Eric Lethander, Jay Warner, Michael Covert and Michael Flach. The men’s 400 medley relay winning team was comprised of Alex Vance, Kevin Leithold, Marwan El Kamash and Warner.
For El Kamash (500 free) and Lethold (100 free), it was their second win of the day as each claimed individual victories.
The Gamecocks will return to the Carolina Natatorium tomorrow morning for session two of the two-day meet with Queens and Wingate with events starting at 10 a.m. At 9:45, the team will hold its senior day ceremony to honor its 15 seniors before they compete in their last home meet.