Jan. 22, 2016
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The University of South Carolina Swimming & Diving program posted outstanding performances across the board Friday evening on the first day of a quad meet at Carolina Natatorium. Competing against Queens, UNC Wilmington and Wingate, the Gamecocks won 12 individual events and two relays to start the two-day meet.
Freshman Maggie Harman led the Gamecocks with two individual victories, while Julia Vincent and Jordan Gotro each set personal records en route to diving victories.
Team scores are still being tabulated for the four-team event and will be released at the conclusion of Saturday’s competition. The four squads will resume the meet Saturday at 10 a.m.
HEAD SWIMMING COACH McGee Moody – “Maggie Harman had a great meet today. As a freshman, this is a big meet for her. This is her rested meet this year. She put up some great times. We thought she was going to be fast the last couple of days, and she was. We actually added an event for her midway through the meet, the 100 freestyle, and we added her to the A relay on the last race, because she deserved it. She performed well enough to anchor that relay. I’m proud of her.” — On the victories by Maggie Harman
“Katie O’Brien is not a freshman. She’s been here before and raced well. She’s finally getting back from a knee surgery and had an outstanding meet today. She swam a lifetime best in the 200 butterfly by two seconds. I was proud of her for that. She’s got more events tomorrow, so I’m excited to see what she can do.” — On the efforts of Katie O’Brien
“Jonathan Boland had a good day today. I was proud of where he was. He’s learning a lot about his racing, and he’s still got more to do. I think a couple of small mistakes maybe cost him a 48.00 in the 100 backstroke, but he swam really well tonight.” — On Jonathan Boland’s evening
“I think we’re still swimming like we’re really tired. We have to understand that we still need that breakthrough swim when we’re tired. We need to prove we can win when we’re tired. We’re better this week, and we need to be better every week from here on out, but we’re still looking very tired right now, so we have to account for that.” — On the overall team performance on the men’s side
“Tomorrow we need to make sure that our folks that are swimming really fast right now are highlighted, that they’re put into an environment where they can continue to post their best times. For the group that is resting off for the SEC Championships, we need to make sure that we’re executing race strategies like we’re supposed to. We’ve only got two more chances before the SEC Championships, and I need to see some people get tough, finish races, and race when they’re tired.” — On what the team needs to accomplish on Saturday
HEAD DIVING COACH Todd Sherritt – “This entire team had a great performance today. We definitely did what we need to do prior to conference. I was very pleased. Marissa Roth had a great score in prelims, Lauren Lamendola had two great efforts, Julia Vincent almost broke a school record… really everyone had great performances. On the guy’s side, we had the same thing. Lyle Markman had a great day, and I’m confident he’ll get his personal best tomorrow on the 3-meter.” — On his team’s overall performance
The top Gamecock squad finished second in the first event, the 200-yard freestyle relay. Jonathan Boland, Nils Wich-Glasen, Caleb Tosh and Patrick McCrillis completed the race with a time of 1:23.52, just .42 seconds out of first.
Carolina’s first win came in the 200 IM, an event the Gamecocks swept. Kevin Leithold took the win with a swim of 1:50.51, while Evan Freed placed second and Fynn Minuth came in third. Freed’s time of 1:52.28 was a personal best.
In the final event before the first break, the Gamecocks won again. Akaram Mahmoud took the 500-yard freestyle for the fifth time this season, swimming the race in 4:25.03. Cody Bekemeyer was second in a time of 4:25.29.
Wich-Glasen claimed the 100-yard breaststroke, the first swim out of the break. His time of 55.38 gave the sophomore his fourth win of the season in the event. Leithold’s 56.44 was good for third.
Freed smashed his previous best in the 200-yard backstroke, posting a time of 1:49.67 (almost six seconds faster than his previous collegiate best) to collect his first win as a Gamecock. Teammates Bekemeyer and Jack Smith were right behind him, placing second and third.
Another Gamecock stood tall in the 100-yard freestyle, where Boland’s 45.44 narrowly won a tight race. Tomas Peribonio came in third, at 46.23.
The final event before the last break was a Carolina podium sweep. Minuth won the 200-yard butterfly with a swim of 1:51.63, taking the race for the second straight meet after also winning against Duke two weeks ago. Tosh and Mahmoud followed their teammate in the top three.
Carolina added one more win in the day’s last race, the 400-yard medley relay. Boland, Wich-Glasen, Leithold and Peribonio combined for a time of 3:19.29 to finish the day on the right note.
Jordan Gotro won the 1-meter dive with a score of 366.53, a personal best. The victory is his fourth of the season in the event and his eighth overall. Lyle Markman came in third with a score of 295.13, also a personal record.
Carolina continued their momentum from the Vanderbilt victory by winning the first race of the day, the 200-yard freestyle relay. Meredith Vay, McKenna Keith, Taylor Vincent and Caroline Petrone finished the race with a time of 1:35.17. Katherine McComas, Paige Maynard, Katherine Malinski and Taylor Worrell were on the squad that finished second.
The victories continued in the 200 IM. Emma Barksdale won the race for the fourth consecutive meet, posting a time of 2:03.65. Carolina also took the next event, the 500-yard freestyle, with Harman carrying the race. The freshman finished in a personal-record time of 4:54.29 for her first career victory, with teammates Charlsie Reneski and Sarah Smith finishing second and third.
Carolina’s top finisher in the 100-yard breaststroke was Kersten Dirrane, who placed second in 1:05.46. The sophomore closed hard and was just .01 seconds away from the top spot. That was followed by the 200-yard backstroke, where Maynard led the Gamecocks with a third place result, in a time of 2:02.38.
Harman climbed back to the top of the podium in the next event, the 100-yard freestyle. Her time of 51.65 was another personal best, and Malinski took third in 52.43.
Another Gamecock earned her first win of the season in the 200-yard butterfly, where Katie O’Brien swam the race in a personal-record time of 2:00.95. Heading into the final break, the Gamecocks were riding a two-race winning streak.
South Carolina finished third in the final race of the day, the 400-yard medley relay. Heather Merritt, Dirrane, Maynard and Harman completed the race in 3:51.20 for the podium spot.
In diving, the Gamecocks took the top five spots in the 3-meter competition. Julia Vincent set a personal record with a score of 391.58, and Lauren Lamendola placed second with a total of 339.53. Marissa Roth (335.55), Mikaela Lujan (316.05) and Allyson Nied (306.83) rounded out the top five, with all three setting career bests.
- Mahmoud’s win in the 500 free was his fifth of the season in the event and his 11th overall in 2015-16.
- Wich-Glasen now owns 11 wins this season across three events.
- O’Brien’s event win was her first since 2014, also in a meet featuring Queens and Wingate.
- Vincent’s score of 391.58 is just .82 points away from the South Carolina school record, set by Courtney Forcucci in 2012.
UP NEXT FOR CAROLINA
The Gamecocks complete the weekend’s meet Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m. Fans are encouraged to arrive early, as the Gamecocks will honor seniors Bobby Bittner, Ashleigh Ferguson, Ellen Johnson, Lauren Lamendola, Kevin Leithold, Brooke Morton and Elise Weisert prior to their final competition at the Carolina Natatorium.