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Feb. 17, 2014

COLUMBIA, S.C.– After nearly three weeks off, South Carolina will begin postseason competition on Tuesday with the start of the SEC Championships in Athens, Ga. The meet will conclude on Saturday.

Date/Opponent: Feb. 18-22
Time: See schedule below
Athens, Ga.
Facility: Gabrielsen Natatorium
Live Stream:
Finals Only Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday

Meet Notes Get Acrobat Reader

Follow @GamecockSwim for updates throughout the meet.

The Gamecocks are making their 23rd appearance at the SEC Championships, with their first being the 1992 championships in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The Carolina men recorded their best finish ever that year with a fifth-place showing. The Gamecock women finished fifth in 2004 and 2005 for their best finish at the event. On the men’s side, the Gamecocks have produced five individual SEC champions, led by two-time champion Zsolt Gaspar (2000, 2001). South Carolina has won 10 individual titles on the women’s side, including senior Amanda Rutqvist, who became the first Gamecock women’s swimmer to win an SEC title by finishing first in the 200 breaststroke in 2011. Prior to joining the SEC, South Carolina’s men had won eight consecutive Metro Conference championships while the Gamecock women took seven of eight titles in the league.


The Gamecock men enter the championship with four swimmers who have NCAA provisional qualifying times and two divers who have posted Zone qualifying scores. The team is led by redshirt freshman Kevin Leithold who has five NCAA `B’ cut times on the year (100 freestyle, 200 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 100 butterfly, 200 IM). Leithold has four times that rank in the top 10 in the SEC this season; 100 freestyle – 7th, 200 IM – 10th, 100 breaststroke – 4th, 100 butterfly – 4th. Redshirt senior Michael Flach is back for his final SEC Championship and has posted provisional times in the 200 and 500 freestyles and the 200 butterfly. Flach took silver in last year’s 500 freestyle, while earning bronze in the event in 2010 and 2011. Joining Flach with `B’ cuts in the 200 and 500 freestyles is fellow senior Gerard Rodriguez who reached the 2013 SEC finals in the 200 freestyle. Senior Jay Warner, the school’s record holder in the 100 backstroke, has also earned a `B’ cut this year in his primary event. On the boards, junior Cole Miller and freshman Jordan Gotro have each earned Zone qualifying scores. Miller has the third-best mark in the SEC this season in the 3-meter and the seventh-best mark in the 1-meter.

The Gamecock women enter the championship with three swimmers who have earned NCAA provisional qualifying times and two divers who have posted Zone qualifying scores. Transfer Victoria Mitchel has led the Gamecocks this season and has `B’ cut times in both the 200 backstroke and 400 IM. Seniors Abby Galbreath and Amanda Rutqvist have posted one `B’ cut time apiece with Galbreath’s coming in the 400 IM and Rutqvist’s in the 200 backstroke. In her freshman season, Rutqvist won an SEC championship in the event. On the boards, junior Patricia Kranz, who earned bronze last year in the 1-meter enters the championships with ninth best mark in the conference, but ranks third in the 3-meter. Sophomore Lauren Lamendola sits third in the SEC in the 1-meter and 13th in the 3-meter.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday’s finals will stream on and Friday and Saturday’s can be seen on ESPN3. ESPNU will air 90-minute highlight shows on March 3 at 4 p.m. ET for the men and on March 4 at 5:30 p.m. ET for the women.

The Carolina men finished the week in eighth place with a total of 540.5, which was in improvement of two spots based on the overall standings from last year. On the women’s side, the Gamecocks finished 11th with a total of 248. South Carolina won two medals (Michael Flach – silver, 500 freestyle; Patricia Kranz – bronze, 1-meter), broke six school records and swam two NCAA automatic qualifying times during the five days of competition.

With the senior class competing for the final time at home, it was a bittersweet ending to for the group as the finished off their careers at Carolina Natatorium with a pair of sweeps over Queens and Wingate. The men defeated Wingate 187-130 and Queens 176-141, while the women won 182-129 over Wingate and 172-136 over Queens. The two teams combined to post the top time in 27 events during the two-day meet. The Gamecocks depth shined as they collected eight total 1-2-3 finishes for the weekend. Carolina also had at least 18 1-2 finishes. Individually, Kevin Leithold led Carolina on the weekend with five total wins, with three coming from relays. Elizabeth Maltby (500 and 1,000 free), Elise Weisert (100 and 200 breaststroke) and Taylor Vincent (50 and 100 free) each led the women in individual wins as each picked up two.

In their first meet in 49 days, both the South Carolina men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams came away with convincing wins over Duke on Jan. 11 at the Carolina Natatorium. The Gamecock men claimed their win with a score of 184-116, while the women won 167-133. The Gamecocks won 19 of 32 events on the day and finished 1-2-3 in five events (men’s 100 backstroke, 100 butterfly, 500 freestyle; women’s 200 butterfly and 500 freestyle) and claimed at least the top two spots in 12 races.

TOP 25 X2
Following the meet against Duke, the women’s team earned its first ranking of the season, coming in at No. 19 in the Endless Pools Top 25, while the me came in at No. 23.

The Gamecocks put together one of their best performances at an invitational in program history, totaling 15 NCAA B cut times during the three-day Virginia Tech Invitational, with 11 of those times coming from the men’s team which moved them up to No. 17 by Endless Pools’ rankings following the meet. Redshirt freshman Kevin Leithold led the way with five times that rank in the nation’s top 30, including the fourth-fastest mark in the 100 breaststroke at 53.57, which broke the school’s seven-year-old record in the event. Redshirt senior Michael Flach posted three B cuts, while seniors Gerard Rodriguez had two and Jay Warner chipped in one. On the women’s side, South Carolina earned a pair of B cuts in the 200 breaststroke and 400 IM. Junior Victoria Mitchell earned one in each event as he won the 400 IM and took fourth in the 200 breaststroke. Senior Amanda Rutqvist earned her B cut as she won the 200 breaststroke, while senior Abby Galbreath was right behind Mitchell in the 400 IM to capture hers.

In 18 individual races this season (not including prelims), redshirt freshman Kevin Leithold has claimed first in all but five races (finished with fastest time of 200 IM finals at the VT Invitational, through the `B’ final). The native of Sandersdorf, Germany continually grew stronger as the fall went on. In the final meet of the fall, Leithold clocked five `B’ cuts and now ranks in the Top 50 nationally in the 100 breaststroke at 12th (53.57), the 100 freestyle at 24th (43.56) and the 200 IM at 37th (1:46.75). In the SEC, his times rank 6th in the 100 freestyle, 9th in the 200 freestyle, 4th in the 100 breaststroke, 9th in the 100 butterfly and 9th in the 200 IM.

Already one of the top swimmers in Egypt, sophomore Marwan El Kamash solidified his spot in late November at the Egyptian Championships where he broke both the 400 and 800 freestyle national records. In four races at the Championships, the native of Alexandria, Egypt, won the 200, 400 and 800 freestyles, and took second in the 50 freestyle.

Led by redshirt freshman Kevin Leithold who won three individual races (100 breaststroke, 100 butterfly, 100 freestyle) and led the Gamecock 400 freestyle relay team victory, the squad defeated LSU 166-134 at Carolina Natatorium. The Gamecocks won a total of eight events, finishing at least first and second in five of those races. Senior Gerard Rodriguez earned wins in both the 200 and 500 freestyles, while fellow senior Michael Flach was right behind him.

After some standout performances at No. 8 Tennessee, the South Carolina men’s swimming and diving team is ranked No. 25 in the first College Swimming Coaches Association of America Division I Team Rankings of the 2013-14 season.

In back-to-back weeks to start the season, South Carolina had one its divers named SEC Diver of the week. Junior Cole Miller won the honor on Oct. 22 after producing big results at Tennessee. He claimed the 3-meter board title with 409.28 points, his second consecutive week scoring over 400 points in that event. The junior finished second on the 1-meter board with 328.65 points, falling to former SEC platform champion Mauricio Robles by 0.15 points after the final dive. His mark on the 3-meter at Tennessee currently leads the conference, while his total of 365.02 on the 1-meter against College of Charleston is second.
A week prior, junior Patricia Kranz was named SEC Female Diver of the Week (10/15) after winning the three-meter springboard at the dual meet against College of Charleston. She earned the honor after placing first in the three-meter and taking second in the one-meter board. Her mark of 369.23 points was just shy of a career mark in the event. She finished with 303.52 points in the one-meter. Her score in the three-meter currently ranks first in the SEC, while her one-meter score ranks second in the conference.

Since transferring from Louisville, Victoria Mitchell has made an immediate impact on the women’s team as she’s won 14 events this season, claiming at least two wins at all six meets during the fall. She concluded the fall by clocking `B’ cuts in the 200 breaststroke (1:58.38) and 400 IM (4:17.20) at the Virginia Tech Invitational.

Until last year, the Gamecocks haven’t had a relay team invited to the NCAA Championships since the 800 freestyle relay team qualified in 2007. That team finished 11th in the event to earn All-America honors. Last year’s 800 freestyle relay team of Gerard Rodriguez, Michael Flach, Marwan El Kamash and Alex Fitton entered the meet with the 19th fastest time in the country of 6:23.99, which is a school record. The team posted a time of 6:24.54 to place 15th at the Championships and earn All-America honors. Rodriguez, Flach and El Kamash are all back this season.

(All Times ET)

Tuesday, February 18
10 a.m. Time Trials
11 a.m. Women’s 1M Diving
1:30 p.m. Men’s 3M Diving
5:30 p.m. Women’s 1M Diving
200 Medley Relay
Men’s 3M Diving
800 Freestyle Relay

Wednesday, February 19
10 a.m. 500 Freestyle
200 IM
50 Freestyle
1 p.m. Men’s 1M Diving
6 p.m. 500 Freestyle
200 IM
50 Freestyle
Men’s 1M Diving
200 Freestyle Relay

Thursday, February 21
10 a.m. 400 IM
100 Butterfly
200 Freestyle
1 p.m. Women’s 3M Diving
6 p.m. 400 IM
100 Butterfly
Men’s 3M Diving
200 Freestyle

Friday, February 22
10 a.m. 200 Butterfly
100 Backstroke
100 Breaststroke
1 p.m. Men’s Platform Diving
6 p.m. 200 Butterfly
100 Backstroke
100 Breaststroke
Women’s Platform Diving
400 Medley Relay

Saturday, February 23
10 a.m. 100 Freestyle
200 Backstroke
200 Breaststroke
1 p.m. Men’s Platform Diving
4 p.m. 1650 Freestyle
6 p.m. 100 Freestyle
200 Backstroke
200 Breaststroke
Men’s Platform Diving
400 Freestyle Relay