Oct. 24, 2008
COLUMBIA - South Carolina's swimming and diving team again had several solid swims and a stellar diving performance, but fell in both the men's and women's meets to No. 10/15 Virginia Friday afternoon at the Carolina Natatorium. Virginia took the men's competition 165-124, and the Cavaliers also won the women's competition by a 163-132 mark.
Virginia improves to 1-0 on both the men's and women's side, and the Gamecocks drop to 0-2 overall in both men's and women's dual meet competition.
"We showed a lot of resiliency today," assistant coach Jason Memont said. "We got better as the meet went along, and we had a lot of freshmen step up and swim well. You never like to lose, but to have that kind of performance against the defending ACC Champion is a good step in the right direction. Our focus is on the details right now, and to continue to get better moving forward."
For the second straight week, Carolina divers turned in dominating performances as the Gamecocks swept all four events. Freshman Helen Alvey, competing in only her second meet as a collegian, won the one-meter event with a 306.60, the best score by a Carolina diver this season and improving on her NCAA Zone qualifying mark. Sophomores Taryn Zack and Allison Barr finished second and third, respectively, with Zack scoring a 283.05 and Barr turning in a 280.05 to better her mark from last week.
Corry Christian came up with a huge 79-point dive in his sixth and final round to vault into the lead and claim the one-meter title on the men's side as he turned in an NCAA Zone qualifying mark of 308.32. He also won the men's three-meter event with a score of 342.07.
In the three-meter competition, freshman Ali Lane qualified for NCAA Zone competition with a 297.98, giving the Gamecocks now four qualified for Zones on the women's side.
"It's unbelievably huge to have the majority of our divers qualified for NCAA Zones already," head diving coach Todd Sherritt said. "We are way ahead of where we should be at this point in the season, and that's always a good thing. Now we just need to work on getting the rest of our divers qualified and we'll be in great shape."
In the swimming portion of the meet, freshman Lindsey Olson continued to impress as she won the 400 individual medley her first time swimming the event as a collegian, touching the wall in 4:24.00 to earn nine big points for the Gamecocks. Sharntelle McLean also got a big win for South Carolina with a 23.55 in the 50 freestyle, exactly matching her time from last week's meet, and Claire Thompson touched first in the 200 freestyle with a 1:50.40 to give Carolina's women three individual event victories.
On the men's side, Nicholas Walkotten took first place in the 100 butterfly, grabbing nine points for Carolina with a 49.10.
Several Gamecocks set personal bests on the day, and numerous freshmen improved on their initial collegiate swims from last week's meet.
Andrew Atzhorn set personal records in both the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke, touching the wall in a fourth-place time of 58.95 to shave nearly a whole second off his previous best in the 100, then taking nearly two seconds off his previous best in the 200 with a 2:11.30.
Kyle Cormier turned in a career best in the 50 free (21.50), Trey Tharpe posted a PR in the 400 IM (4:10.55), and freshman James Crawford continues to be a strong point for the Gamecocks as he bettered his time in the 200 backstroke (1:50.56).
The Gamecocks look for a big crowd next Friday, Oct. 31, as they host their biggest dual meet of the season against archrival Clemson. Swimming is set to begin at 5 p.m. at the Carolina Natatorium.
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