Vazquez Bas Wins Silver as Gamecocks Wrap up SECs
College Station, Texas – South Carolina swimming & diving closed out the final day of competition at the SEC Championships with a pair of school records and a silver medal in men’s platform diving.
Representing the men’s diving team was senior Manny Vazquez Bas. The San Juan, Puerto Rico, native advanced to the finals after placing third in the prelims with a score of 391.15.
In the finals, Vazquez Bas started strong with a 76.5 in the first round to take first place after the first dive. In the second round, he scored a 63.00, dropping him to fourth place. The senior battled back with a 67.20 and and 67.65 in the third and fourth rounds to climb back up into second place.
He solidified his spot at second place with a score of 81.60 in his final dive, earning the silver medal. Vazquez Bas’s final score of 432.75 took down his own school record of 410.15 that he set in January at the Georgia Diving Invitational.
On the swim side of things, senior Janie Smith had the most notable performance of the evening. The Charlotte, N.C., native took down her own school record in the prelims of the 100 free and went on to lower it again in the finals with a time of 48.32. Smith’s previous school record had stood for two years, having set it at the 2021 SEC Championships. Smith won the B-final to place 9th overall.
Also in the 100 free finals was freshman Dylan Scholes. Scholes swam a new personal best time of 49.04 in the finals, making her the third fastest swimmer in program history.
Mark Shperkin represented the men’s team in the 100 free finals. He swam a 42.97 for 21st place overall.
In the 200 back, Tatiana Salcutan swam a new personal best time in the prelims with a 1:54.26. Her finals time of 1:54.39 placed her at 13th overall.
Freshman Amy Riordan won the C-final of the event, also swimming a new personal best time. She clocked a 1:55.42 for 17th place overall. Her time makes her the fifth fastest swimmer in program history.
For the men, sophomore Wylie Kruse put on his best performance of the season, swimming a new personal best time of 1:42.44 in the C-final. His time makes his the second fastest swimmer in program history and landed him in 20th place overall.
Also in the C-final was senior Patrick Groters who swam a 1:44.55 for 24th place.
In the 200 breast, junior Laura Goettler set a new personal best time in the prelims with a 2:10.50. Her time secures her spot as the fifth fastest swimmer in program history. Her finals time of 2:11.19 put her at 14th place overall. In the C-final Georgia Johnson swam a 2:13.50 for 22nd place.
Junior Daniel West represented the men in the event. He swam a new personal best time of 1:58.16 in the prelims. The time ties him for eighth place in the program’s all-time top-10. West swam a 1:58.67 in the finals for 24th place.
The women’s 400 free relay team of Smith, Scholes, Riordan, and Aubrey Chandler swam a 3:18.08 to place tenth in their final event of the meet. Their time makes them the fourth fastest in program history.
The men’s 400 relay team of Guy Gropper, Michael Laitarovsky, Erge Gezmis, and Shperkin swam a 2:53.82, placing tenth overall. Their time makes them the third fastest group in program history.
South Carolina’s women wrapped up the SECs with 587 points and in eighth place. Their eighth place finish equals the highest finish in program history since Texas A&M and Missouri joined the conference in 2012. The team had previously placed eighth in both 2012 and 2018. The Gamecocks improved upon their finish from last year, having placed tenth in 2022. Their final score of 587 points is the most points that the team has scored since scoring 591 in 2018.
The Gamecock men finished in ninth place with 458.5 points, also improving upon their placement from the season prior, having finished tenth in 2022. Their ninth place finish is the highest conference finish since placing ninth in 2019. Their final score of 458.5 points is the most points that the team has scored since scoring 504 in 2020.
This concludes the second SEC Championships under head coach Jeff Poppell, who now has brought a total of eight SEC medals to South Carolina in two seasons – three in 2022 and five in 2023.
At the conclusion of the meet, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey presented graduate diver Brooke Schultz with the SEC Women’s Diver of the Meet trophy. Schultz earned gold in both springboard events on the first two days of competition. Schultz has now earned the title of SEC Women’s Diver of the Meet in back-to-back Championships.
The Gamecocks will return to Columbia and prepare for NCAA’s. Selected competitors will compete at the UGA Last Chance Invitational in an effort to make NCAA qualifying times. South Carolina’s divers will compete next at the NCAA Zone B Diving Championships where they will seek qualifying spots at the NCAA meet.
For all the latest South Carolina swimming and diving information, continue to follow GamecocksOnline.com or the team on social media (@GamecockSwim).
Women’s 200 back
13 – Tatiana Salcutan – 1:54.39
17 – Amy Riordan – 1:55.42
Men’s 200 back
20 – Wylie Kruse – 1:42.44
24 – Patrick Groters – 1:44.55
Women’s 100 free
9 – Janie Smith – 48.32
20 – Dylan Scholes – 49.04
Men’s 100 free
21 – Mark Shperkin – 42.97
Women’s 200 breast
14 – Laura Goettler – 2:11.19
22 – Georgia Johnson – 2:13.50
Men’s 200 breast
24 – Daniel West – 1:58.67
Manny Vazquez Bas
Women’s 400 free relay
10 – Smith, Scholes, Riordan, Chandler – 3:18.08
Men’s 400 free relay
10 – Gropper, Laitarovsky, Gezmis, Shperkin – 2:53.82