March 23, 2016
ATLANTA — It didn’t take long for the University of South Carolina Swimming & Diving team to make history as the 2016 NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming & Diving Championships opened on Wednesday night at the McAuley Aquatic Center. Carolina’s team of Kevin Leithold, Akaram Mahmoud, Fynn Minuth and Tomas Peribonio finished as All-Americans and set a new school record in the lone event of the night, the 800-yard freestyle relay.
The Gamecock relay team finished 15th and swam the race in 6:19.93, the first sub-6:20 time in program history. South Carolina scored four team points with the performance and sits in 15th place overall with three full days of competition left on the docket.
Leithold swam the first leg in 1:35.19, a personal record, before handing it off to Mahmoud, who turned in a split of 1:34.40. Minuth posted a swim of 1:35.93 in his first NCAA appearance, and Peribonio closed the race with a split of 1:34.41.
The previous record of 6:20.59, which included Leithold in the second leg, came at the 2014 SEC Championships.
HEAD SWIMMING COACH McGee Moody – “This was the perfect start for us. We were right where we wanted to be. We thought we needed to be 6:19 to score. It was going to be a stretch for our guys. We had 6:24 at SECs, so (we needed) a five-second drop tonight to put us in the top-15 in the country. That’s huge for our guys; I’m proud of them, especially Kevin Leithold. He’s a senior. This was his last swim for the University of South Carolina, and (he swam) a lifetime best. It was a great start. Now the goal for tomorrow and forward is to keep rolling and use this momentum that we’ve taken. We know the guys are in a good place, so we’re going to see how many points we can pile up over the next few days.” — On the start of the meet for the Gamecocks
- The Gamecocks have now turned in an All-America performance in each of the last four seasons in the 800 free relay.
- Leithold was part of three All-America 800 free relay teams, while Mahmoud and Peribonio were part of the group in 2015.
- Minuth, a freshman, swam his first career All-America performance on Wednesday.
- The race was the last of Leithold’s Gamecock career. The senior will leave the program as one of just 20 Gamecocks to accumulate three All-America awards.
- Mahmoud and Peribonio are also part of that group of 20 three-time All-Americans after both Gamecocks also earned All-America status in the 1,650-yard freestyle last season.
UP NEXT FOR CAROLINA
The 2016 NCAA Men’s Championships begin in earnest on Thursday, as individual swimming and diving events get underway. Mahmoud, Peribonio and Cody Bekemeyer will swim the 500-yard freestyle, and Jordan Gotro dives the 1-meter. Swimming prelims start at 10 a.m., diving prelims begin at 12:30 p.m., and finals are scheduled for 6 p.m.