Feb. 18, 2012
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- South Carolina sophomore Amanda Rutqvist swam a season-best time of 2:09.48 to win silver in the women's 200-yard breaststroke to lead the Gamecocks on the final night of competition Saturday at the 2012 SEC Swimming and Diving Championships at the Allan Jones Aquatic Center.
Rutqvist, whose time was a NCAA provisional qualifying mark, came up .75 of a second short of defending her SEC title in the event. Her finish highlighted a night that saw Carolina post three NCAA B-cuts and six personal bests.
On the week the Gamecocks achieved 30 provisional qualifying times, won three medals, broke two school records and set one SEC record. The Carolina women finished the championships in eighth place with a score of 237, while the men placed eighth as well with a score of 196.
"Most days we were about as good as we could be," South Carolina head coach McGee Moody said. "We had one little slip up on Friday morning where I thought we didn't have our best day. Those kinds of days happen. I think what says a lot about a team is how you respond to that, whether you throw in the towel or continue to scratch and claw. They did bounce back pretty well. All in all we were good. The places didn't end up exactly the way we wanted them to simply because we couldn't get back enough ground that we lost on Friday, but I think it was a good effort by our kids."
Freshman Annika Jonsson wrapped up a stellar debut at the SEC Championships with a seventh-place showing in the women's 200-yard butterfly championship final with a personal best of 2:00.95. In the event's consolation final, junior Whitney Avers touched fourth with a time of 2:01.30 to finish 12th overall.
A pair of Gamecock seniors scored in their final SEC Championships in their respective events, as James Crawford claimed eighth (16th overall) in the 200-yard backstroke consolation final and captain Ryan Connolly swam a PR of 2:01.42 in the 200 breaststroke to finish eighth in the consolation final.
In the men's 200-yard butterfly consolation final, sophomore Gerard Rodriguez topped his finish at last year's meet with a second-place showing (10th overall) in a NCAA provisional qualifying mark of 1:47.60. Sophomore Matt Navata swam a PR of 1:48.60 to places sixth in the final and 14th overall.
The Gamecock men had two swimmers score points in the 1,650-yard freestyle, as junior Matt Columbus tied for 12th with a time of 15:33.85 and junior Brooks Ross 15:44.97. Senior Dan Jackson placed 19th with a time of 15:55.58. In the women's 1,650 freestyle, the Gamecocks came up just short of scoring despite personal best performances. Junior Jordan Gibbs took 17th with a PR of 16:54.82, while freshman Charlotte Ward placed 18th with a PR of 17:01.31.
To close out the night, the Carolina women's team of Sara Drake, Rachel Elliott, Matea Peteh and Rachael Schaffer finished eighth in a time of 3:25.76 in the 400-yard freestyle relay. In the men's race, Andrew Seiler, Collin Kaden, Jay Warner and Rodriguez swam a NCAA provisional qualifying time of 2:59.13 to finish sixth.
The Auburn men claimed their 16th straight SEC title with a score of 730.5. On the women's side, Georgia won its third straight title with a score of 781.
The Gamecocks return to action next weekend, as several swimmers will compete at the Bulldog Invitational last chance meet in Athens, Ga. on Feb. 25-26. The Gamecock divers will compete next in Auburn, Ala. on March 8-10 in the NCAA Zone B Championships.
Saturday, February 18
Men's 200 Backstroke - Final/Overall
Women's 200 Breaststroke - Final/Overall
Men's 200 Breaststroke - Final/Overall
Women's 400 Freestyle Relay
Men's 400 Freestyle Relay
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