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Feb. 18, 2014

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Coach Sherritt

ATHENS, Ga. – The South Carolina swimming and diving teams came flying out of the gates tonight at the 2014 SEC Swimming & Diving Championships at Gabrielsen Natatorium on the campus of the University of Georgia. All four Gamecock relay teams posted top 10 program best times, including both men’s relay teams setting school records.

Through six events, the men’s team sits in fifth place with 131 points, while the women are 11th with 77 points.

“It was great,” head swimming and diving coach McGee Moody said on the start. “We are off to a much, much better start than where we were at this meet last year. We were very solid last year the first night, but we’re head and shoulders above where were last year when you look at the amount of time that we broke those records. Our 800 freestyle on the men’s side broke a record by three seconds, which that’s not even in the same ballpark. They shattered it. In the 200 medley, they broke it by eight tenths.”

“Our girls were just as impressive. Our women’s 800 free relay was incredible. i was really proud of them. Every one of them swam as fast if not faster then they’ve ever gone before.”

Capping off a great opening night was the men’s 800 freestyle team which with a time of 6:20.59, shattered the previous school record set at last season’s SEC championships by more than three seconds. The team of Marwan El Kamash, Kevin Leithold, Michael Flach and Gerard Rodriguez were moving between third and fifth throughout much of race but were bumped off of the medal stand by less than a second as they finished in fifth. The time though was still a NCAA `A’ cut.

Despite finishing ninth in the 200 medley, the group of Jay Warner, Eric Lethander, Leithold and Flach set the school record in the event at 1:26.13, more than a half a second better last year’s group, and earned a `B’ cut in the process. They narrowly missed out on an `A’ cut, missing the mark by five hundredths of a second. The top seven times in the race all earned `A’ cuts, with the top five teams coming in at 1-5 nationally this season.

In the women’s 800 free relay, the team of Victoria Mitchell, Cooper Brown, Ashleigh Ferguson and Abby Galbreath recorded a time of 7:17.35 to finish 10th. The time though was the fourth fastest time in program history.

Earlier in the evening, the women’s 200 medley team of Lindsay Pierce, Amanda Rutqvist, Caroline Bixler and Rachel Elliott finished with a time of 1:42.23, which was the seventh fastest time in the event at South Carolina.

On the boards, all three of the men scored, with Cole Miller earning the group’s top finish as he placed seventh in the 3-meter finals with a score of 359.95. The women’s top finish in the 1-meter came from Patricia Kranz who finished 16th.

“I was happy with how my guys performed today, and I think my freshman Jordan [Gotro] did an outstanding job, and so did Andrew [Helmich],” diving coach Todd Sherritt said. “Cole [Miller] had a great meet tonight, he ended up seventh, probably could have been up in the top three, but made a couple mistakes.”

The Gamecocks will look to continue on today’s momentum tomorrow when day two begins at 10 a.m. ET with the 500 freestyle.

Day 1 Results

Women’s 1-meter diving prelims
16) Kranz, Patricia 267.50
31) Lamendola, Lauren 197.40

Men’s 3-meter diving prelims
6) Miller, Cole 359.95
15) Gotro, Jordan 314.50
20) Helmich, Andrew 276.85

Women’s 200 medley relay
1:42.23 – 11th
1) Pierce, Lindsay 2) Rutqvist, Amanda
3) Bixler, Caroline 4) Elliott, Rachel

Men’s 200 medley relay
1:26:13 – 9th
1) Warner, Jay SR 2) Leithold, Kevin
3) Flach, Michael 4) Lethander, Eric

Men’s 3-meter diving finals
7) Miller, Cole 360.50

Women’s 800 freestyle relay
7:17.35 – 10th
1) Mitchell, Victoria 2) Brown, Cooper
3) Ferguson, Ashleigh 4) Galbreath, Abby

Men’s 800 freestyle relay
6:20.59 – 5th
1) El Kamash, Marwan 2) Leithold, Kevin
3) Flach, Michael 4) Rodriguez, Gerard