Feb. 15, 2018
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -
South Carolina junior Fynn Minuth secured back-to-back titles and set a new SEC Swimming and Diving Championship record in the 500 freestyle on Thursday. Minuth led the Gamecocks on a successful second day at the championship meet, where they posted three new school records and brought eight individuals to event finals.
South Carolina's women finished day two in ninth place with a score of 218.50. The men improved on their day one ranking to sit at sixth with 285 points going into day three Friday.
South Carolina's men dominated the competition in the 500 freestyle A- and B-finals. Minuth and Akram Mahmoud finished first and second in the event with Minuth setting a new SEC record with a time of 4:10.51 to win his second-consecutive SEC title in the event. Mahmoud took second with a time of 4:11.47. Both Minuth and Mahmoud secured a spot in the NCAA Championships with A-cut times in their A-final.
The Gamecocks took first, second and third in the men's 500 freestyle B-final. Freshman Brandonn Almeida took first with a time of 4:16.21 after missing the A-final cut off time by 17 hundredths of a second in prelims. Cody Bekemeyer finished second with a time of 4:17.10 and Rafael Davila touched in third with a time of 4:17.29. All three Gamecocks recorded their personal-best times in the event final, swimming the fifth, sixth and seventh fastest times in South Carolina history, respectively.
Three Gamecocks set or tied school records in the day-two prelims, to come back in finals and beat their own time. Emma Barksdale and Tom Peribonio both qualified for their respective 200 IM A-finals with program-best times. Barksdale topped her prelim time with a 1:54.52 in the final to place fourth overall. Peribonio cut his time from 1:44.10 to 1:44.00 in finals for seventh place in the event and a new school record.
Similarly, Christina Lappin tied the school record in the women's 50 freestyle prelims with a time of 22.65. The junior returned in the night's C-final with a time of 22.53 to take second in the race and record a new South Carolina top time.
Three more Gamecocks swam personal-best times in the women's 200 IM prelims, with Albury Higgs adding her name to the record book with her 2:00.41 marking the fifth-fastest 200 IM in school history.
The Gamecock men recorded three personal records in the 50 freestyle prelims. Allen Ross swam a 20.10 in the event to secure a spot as the ninth-fastest 50 freestyler in school history.
Grant Summers represented the Gamecocks in men's 1-meter diving, earning a score of 254.80 to take 26th in prelims.
South Carolina finished the night with an eighth-place finish in the women's 200 freestyle relay and a ninth-place finish in the men's 200 freestyle relay.
QUOTABLE: HEAD SWIMMING COACH McGee Moody
"We had another strong night for our men and women. Our distance men established themselves as one of the premier distance groups in the nation. Fynn Minuth won his second SEC title in the 500 freestyle and Akram Mahmoud finished a close second.
"Emma Barksdale broke her second school record of the meet, finishing fourth in the 200 IM. Tom Peribonio broke the men's 200 IM school record by over a full second.
Our student-athletes are ready to race this week and our coaching staff is excited about the rest of the week and what it holds for our team."
QUOTABLE: HEAD DIVING COACH Todd Sherritt
"The men's 1-meter contest was unbelievable today. This field was as deep as I have ever seen it. Grant did not have his best day today, but gained some valuable experience on what it takes to medal here. Coming off of a great performance yesterday made today a little bit of a let down, but this is his freshman year and he has many more contests ahead of him. Grant has a great career ahead of him and will be a top-eight finisher consistently in this conference moving forward."
UP NEXT FOR CAROLINA
South Carolina swimming and diving is back for day three of the 2018 SEC Championships on Friday. Prelims for the men's and women's 400 IM, 100 butterfly and 200 freestyle begin at 10 a.m. (CT). The prelims for women's 3-meter diving begin at 12:30 p.m. (CT). Finals for all day three events take place at 6 p.m. (CT).
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