March 9, 2016
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Five members of the University of South Carolina Swimming & Diving program officially received invitations to the NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming & Diving Championships on Wednesday, as Cody Bekemeyer, Tomas Peribonio and Nils Wich-Glasen made the cut in individual events while Fynn Minuth and Kevin Leithold are on the 800-yard freestyle relay team that was extended an invitation to nationals. The quintet will join Akaram Mahmoud at the NCAA Championships after the sophomore achieved automatic qualifying times in the 500-yard and 1,650-yard freestyle races last month.
Freshman Emma Barksdale (400-yard IM) and sophomore Taylor Worrell (500-yard freestyle) received berths in the NCAA Women’s Championships last week, and the Carolina divers will also be well represented at the national meet. Jordan Gotro, Julia Vincent and Lauren Lamendola have already qualified for NCAAs in the 1-meter and 3-meter events, with more Gamecocks competing for NCAA spots on the platform on Wednesday at Zone Diving.
“I’m proud of the guys we are sending to the NCAA Championships; they’ve worked hard all season long and deserve to compete against the best in the nation,” said South Carolina head swimming coach McGee Moody. “We’re going to Atlanta with very high expectations, and there’s no doubt in my mind that we will have several All-Americans when the meet is over.”
Mahmoud won the SEC Championship in the 1650 free, and his Gamecock-record time of 14:35.49 currently ranks second in the nation. The Cairo, Egypt, native is also an NCAA contender in the 500 free, where his top time of 4:12.78 is fourth-best in collegiate swimming. Last year, as a freshman, Mahmoud earned All-American honors with a sixth-place finish in the 1650 free, and he placed 25th in the 500 free.
Just a freshman, Bekemeyer will swim the 1650 free at NCAAs after posting the 24th-best time in the nation, a 14:55.46. After placing 10th in the event at the SEC Championships, Bekemeyer traveled to the Bulldog Last Chance Invitational and dropped more than seven seconds off his previous best, ensuring a spot at the national meet.
Peribonio will join his Gamecock teammates in the 1650 free, where his time of 14:50.90 was good for a third-place finish at the SEC Championships and ranks 14th in the nation. The sophomore will also take part in the 400 IM at nationals, where his school-record 3:45.26 is 28th in the nation, and the 500 free, with his time of 4:16.88 ranking 21st in America. Last season at NCAAs, Peribonio finished 13th in the 1650 free and 23rd in the 500 free.
Wich-Glasen will take part in both the 100-yard and 200-yard breaststroke races at nationals. His 100 breast time of 52.63, a Carolina record, is 23rd-best in the nation, and his 200 breast time, 1:53.94, ranks 12th. The sophomore finished third at the SEC Championships in the 200.
Last season at the NCAA Championships, Wich-Glasen finished seventh in the 200 breast to secure All-American honors, and his prelims time of 1:52.60 remains a Gamecock record. He also placed 28th in the 100 breast last season at NCAAs.
Minuth and Leithold will be on Carolina’s 800-yard freestyle relay team, joining Peribonio and Mahmoud. The Gamecocks enter the NCAA Championships with a time of 6:24.43, 21st in the nation. Leithold, Peribonio and Mahmoud were on the 2015 Gamecock relay that placed 11th in the event to earn All-American status.
The Gamecocks finished seventh as a team at the SEC Championships last month, and they were ranked 22nd in the final CSCAA national poll of the regular season.
ESPN3.com will stream finals sessions Friday and Saturday live from the NCAA Men’s Championships. Additionally, ESPNU will air a 90-minute show at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time, Wednesday, April 6.
UP NEXT FOR CAROLINA
The NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships are scheduled for March 16-19, with the Men’s Championships booked for March 23-26. Both events will take place at the McAuley Aquatic Center in Atlanta, Ga.