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Oct. 30, 2015

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina swimming and diving team begins the SEC schedule Saturday morning, with both the men and women welcoming in Alabama at the Carolina Natatorium/Blatt P.E. Center. The meet is slated to begin with diving at 9 a.m. and admission is free.

Opponent: Alabama (Men and Women)
Date / Time: Oct. 31 / 9 a.m. (Diving), 10 a.m. (Swimming)
Location: Carolina Natatorium/Blatt P.E. Center
Live Results:
On Twitter: @GamecockSwim
Meet Notes Get Acrobat Reader

The Gamecock men opened the 2015-16 duals season with a win over Purdue on Oct. 24. The Gamecocks won 10 of the 14 swimming events, including both relays and both diving events, to beat the Boilermakers 167-129. The women’s diving team hosted rival Clemson, and cruised to a 30-8 win in the dive-only meet.

South Carolina Swimming Head Coach McGee Moody after the win over Purdue
We were really good today. I didn’t really know what to expect from the amount of training we had done this week. We knew it was going to be a very close competition. They match up really well with us. They were 17th in the country last year at the NCAA Championships and we were 19th. We had some outstanding swims. I’m not sure what the limit to what (Akaram) can do is. He’s an outstanding athlete and he is a very hard worker. Nils was much better today than he was down in Florida. We had some great swims from freshmen as well. Our young guys did really, really well.

Following the win over Purdue, three members of the University of South Carolina men’s swimming and diving team were recognized by the SEC with weekly honors. Akaram Mahmoud was named the SEC Male Swimmer of the Week, Cody Bekemeyer was honored as the SEC Male Freshman of the Week, and Jordan Gotro earned Male Diver of the Week accolades. For the women, Julia Vincent was named the SEC Female Diver of the Week after wins in both the 1-meter and 3-meter boards against Clemson.

After securing a big win over Purdue last weekend, the men’s program moved from 18th up to 16th in the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) NCAA Division I Team Rankings. It is the team’s best-ever ranking in the poll. In total, seven SEC schools are ranked in the current poll and all appear in the top 16.¬¬

Rookie Paige Maynard won both the 100 (54.86) and 200 (2:00.25) butterfly in her collegiate debut at the FGCU Classic. Her times in both events were less than one second shy of an NCAA B cut. Maynard’s performance earned her SEC Freshman of the Week honors on Oct. 13.

Cody Bekemeyer continues to play an important role for the Gamecock men, earning second place finishes in the 100-yard freestyle (9:10.64), in the 500-yard freestyle (4:28.33) and in the 400-yard IM (3:56.74) to pick up 12 points in the Gamecocks’ dual meet win over Purdue, earning him his conference honors.

This summer four Gamecocks competed internationally, representing their native countries. Akaram Mahmoud and Marwan El Kamash both swam at the FINA World Champions in Kazan, Russia and the African Games in Brazzaville, Congo as part of the Egyptian National Team. Mahmoud finished fourth in the 1500-meter freestyle at World Championships and currently ranks in the world.

Tomas Peribonio competed at the Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada and the FINA World Championships on behalf of Ecuador. Peribonio set a pair of Ecuadorian national records and finished seventh overall in the 400-meter IM. Diver Julia Vincent became a three-time South African National Champion, winning the 1-meter, 3-meter and synchronized diving titles at the South African Nationals.

The Gamecocks return a combined 42 swimmers and dives including six of their eight NCAA qualifiers from last season.

South Carolina loses three-time All-American diver Cole Miller this season. Miller earned All-America honors on the 1-meter, 3-meter and platform at the 2015 NCAA Championships to help propel the Gamecocks to a 19th place finish.

South Carolina added 23 newcomers to the roster this season.

The SEC season continues next weekend, as both the men and women hit the road to take on Florida on Nov. 6. The Gators were number one on the men’s side and 13th for the women in the third week of College Swimming’s Top-25 rankings.