Aug. 10, 2015
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Akram Mahmoud, Marwan El Kamash and Tomas Peribonio concluded the FINA World Championships on Sunday with Mahmoud, a rising sophomore, highlighting the Gamecocks’ trip to Kazan, Russia with a fourth-place finish in the 1500-meter freestyle.
“For the past few years we have been taking huge steps forward at South Carolina and these three men have taken that progress to another level,” said head coach McGee Moody. “They took full advantage of the opportunities in front on them had great races. Akram had one of the most impressive 1500’s I’ve seen and to finish in the top five in the world is a remarkable accomplishment. We’re looking forward to what this next year holds leading up to the Olympics.”
Gregorio Paltrinieri, the European record holder, won the 1500-meter freestyle with time of 14:39.67. Conner Jaeger set the American record and took home the silver medal while Ryan Cochrane of Canada rounded out the top three. Mahmoud’s time of 14:53.66 is Egyptian record.
Mahmoud set another Egyptian record (7:49.83) and finished just short of the 800-meter freestyle final with a ninth-place showing in the preliminary.
In the 400-meter freestyle, Mahmoud and fellow Egyptian national team member El Kamash finished 15th and 16th, respectively. Mahmoud again set an Egyptian record, going 3:48.07 while El Kamash touched the wall in 3:48.15, just a .08 second difference.
El Kamash also competed in the 200-meter freestyle, finishing in 17th place and just .14 seconds shy of the finals.
Rising sophomore Perbonio, who represented Ecuador, placed 49th and 53rd in the 400 and 200-meter freestyle events, respectively.
“For three athletes from the same University and even the same training group to reach a meet of this magnitude is an incredible feat,” said associate head coach Mark Bernardino. “Going into the meet I think each of them was filled with confidence, they were comfortable with their training up to that point and they were excited to race against the best of the best. The final results were extraordinarily rewarding for all three of them. I think it speaks really positively to what is happening here at the University of South Carolina. It speaks positively to the work ethic, enthusiasm and energy that these men are bringing to our program. It shows their teammates that if you are willing to make the sacrifices, persevere and dedicate yourself, that you too can be far more successful than you might have imagined.”
Gamecock diver and rising sophomore Julia Vincent competed in three events for her native country of South Africa. Vincent, along with her partner Nicole Gillis finished 15th in the 3-meter synchronized competition. Individually, Vincent placed 21st on the 1-meter springboard and 33rd on the 3-meter.
The South Carolina Swimming and Diving team opens the season on Oct. 3 at the FGCU Invitational in Ft. Myers, Fla. The men will begin the Gamecocks’ home slate hosting Purdue on Oct. 24.