Gamecock Men Remain Unbeaten; Women Split with Duke, Queens
Jan. 15, 2011
By Wes Todd
DURHAM, N.C. - South Carolina's men swept Duke and Queens University in dual-meet action on Saturday here at the Taishoff Aquatic Pavilion, while the Gamecock women defeated Queens but fell to the host Blue Devils. The Gamecocks took down Duke's men, 165-145, and defeated Queens 247-41. Carolina's women earned a 249-24 win over Queens while Duke's women prevailed 160-140.
The Carolina men remained unbeaten at 7-0, continuing to improve on the best start in school history, while the women moved to 5-4 overall in dual-meet action this season.
Carolina's men won 9 of 14 swimming events on the day to earn their seventh victory of the season. For the second straight week, freshman Gerard Rodriguez won a pair of events, taking the 500 freestyle in 4:35.73 and winning the 200 free in 1:39.30. He also swam the 100 freestyle, finishing fourth, and was the anchor leg on the 400 freestyle relay team that finished a close second.
The Gamecock distance corps came up big with wins in both the 500 and the 1000 freestyle. Rodriguez led a 1-2-3 sweep in the 500 - along with Brooks Ross and Matt Columbus - and Ross and Columbus went 1-2 in the 1000. Ross' time of 9:20.73 was his second-best of the season, and Columbus clocked in at 9:34.45.
Junior Chris Kelly also won a pair of events, posting a 1:50.10 to lead the 200 backstroke and then coming back with a 4:04.15 to dominate the 400 individual medley. He also swam the leadoff leg in the 200 medley relay and took third place in a Gamecock sweep in the 200 freestyle. And Bobby Cave was his usual self with a pair of breaststroke wins, taking the 100 breast with a 57.56 and the 200-yard event with a 2:05.36.
Sophomore Michael Flach took victory in the 200 butterfly with a 1:51.82 and was the runner-up in the 100 fly with a 49.85. He also swam the 100 backstroke for the first time this season, posting a 50.98 to take third place. In that 100 back, sophomore Max Heinze earned a win for Carolina, posting a 50.72 to lead a 1-3-4 finish.
On the women's side, senior Bridget Halligan put together one of her best meets as a Gamecock, winning both the 50 and 100 freestyle and swimming a stellar anchor leg in the 400 freestyle relay to give Carolina a closing win. Her time of 23.38 in the 50 free outpaced the nearest Duke competitor by a half-second, then she posted a 52.11 in the 100 free to earn another win. In the afternoon's final women's relay, she teamed with Lauren Raczkowski, Kelly Tannhauser and Matea Peteh to post a 3:31.34 in the 400 freestyle relay; Halligan swam a closing split of 51.26 to post a win of more than two seconds.
Sophomore Whitney Avers continues to come on strong for the Carolina women as she posted a victory in the 200 butterfly with a time of 2:05.19. She took third place in the 100 butterfly with a 58.01, and helped complete a 1-2-3 sweep in the 400 IM with a third-place time of 4:28.65.
Leading the 400 IM sweep was freshman Rachael Schaffer, who posted a 4:20.63 to finish more than 10 seconds ahead of her nearest opponent. Teammate Abby Galbreath was second with a 4:27.94, just shy of a career-best. Freshman Amanda Rutqvist earned the Gamecocks' other swimming victory in the 200 breaststroke, touching the wall in 1:50.10. Rutqivst and Schaffer finished third and fourth, respectively, in the 100 breaststroke.
Junior diver Courtney Forcucci also earned a significant victory for the Carolina women, taking first place on the 1-meter board with a career-best score of 308.93, outpacing defending ACC champion and All-American Abby Johnston for the victory. Forcucci finished second behind Johnston on the 3-meter board with a 302.33. Senior Taryn Zack took third place on both boards. On the men's side, defending national champion Nick McCrory was too much for the Gamecocks to overcome as he dominated both boards. Sophomore Rylan Ridenour took runner-up honors on the 1-meter board with a 328.65, and he finished third in 3-meter diving with a 326.93.
South Carolina will return to action next weekend with road meets at East Carolina on Friday and at UNC Wilmington on Saturday.