Gamecock Swimming and Diving Sweeps Clemson
Oct. 31, 2008
COLUMBIA - South Carolina's first swimming and diving win of the season could not have come at a better time - or against a better opponent. The Gamecock men and women both improved to 1-2 on the season with a pair of Halloween night victories over archrival Clemson at the Carolina Natatorium. The men took a 178-119 victory while the women earned a 171-128 decision over the Tigers.
"This was a good night tonight," South Carolina head coach McGee Moody said. "We finally competed like the team we are capable of being. A lot of kids had special nights tonight; they have all worked hard and deserve this."
Between the swimming and diving portions of the event, a total of 24 personal bests (including one school record) were set by Gamecock women, and the men set 17 personal records.
"Tonight was the first night that everything clicked for us. Clemson has a very good program; they are always getting lots of votes in the top 25, so this is a very good win for us. I'm happy with where we are right now, but we've got to keep working hard."
Sophomore Megan Sparks provided the swimming highlight of the night, breaking a 16-year-old school record in the 100-yard backstroke as she touched the wall in 55.86 seconds, almost one-tenth of a second ahead of the record set by Michelle McCarthy in 1992. Sparks also set a personal record with a 1:59.91 in the 200 breast and helped the 400 free relay team to a victory in the final event of the night.
"Megan Sparks had a great night for us," Moody said. "That's incredible to break a school record and to swim that fast unrested and in only the third meet of the season. We had several others with great nights, too."
Those others included senior Amanda Dunnigan, who won three of four events on the night and set a personal record in the 100 breast (1:03.82). Senior Kyle Cormier provided several strong swims for the Gamecock men, winning all four of his events, and James Crawford continues to be one of Carolina's strongest freshmen, lowering his personal records in both the 100 back (51.11) and 200 back (1:49.11) and winning the 200 IM in his first attempt at the event in 1:53.24.
Another freshman, Armin Hornikel, also won three of his four events with personal record times in the 100 breast (57.96), 200 breast (2:07.56) and 50 free (21.83) while helping the Gamecocks to a first-place finish in the 200 medley relay. And Lindsey Olson kept up her winning ways, getting victories and PRs in the 100 fly (55.67) and 200 fly (2:00.41) and finishing a close second to Dunnigan in the 200 IM with a personal best of 2:03.73.
Sophomore Christine Thompson helped set the tone for the Gamecocks with her lifetime best swim in the 1000 free, shaving six seconds off her previous personal best to touch the wall first in 10:00.96. Her twin sister, Claire, picked up victory for Carolina in the other distance event, finishing the 500 free in 4:56.76. Senior Nicholas Walkotten continued his dominance in the men's butterfly events, getting victories in the 100 fly (49.43) and 200 fly (1:51.13).
In the diving portion of the event, it was more dominance from the Gamecocks as sophomore Taryn Zack swept the one- and three-meter events again, falling just short of potentially setting a pair of school records. Zack led a trio of Gamecock divers in the top three spots of the one-meter event, scoring 320.55 to grab nine points along with Allison Barr's second-place 266.18 and Helen Alvey getting third with 257.70. Zack also took first place in the three-meter competition, bettering her top score with a 376.28 to grab first place over freshman Ali Lane (326.48) and Alvey (270.30).
"Everything is on track with our diving," head diving coach Todd Sherritt said. "It's always nice to shut out Clemson. Taryn Zack and Ali Lane had outstanding performances. Those are extremely high scores for this early in the season."
The Gamecocks will enjoy this victory, but will get right back to work in preparation for a very tough dual meet next Saturday against the nationally-ranked Florida Gators. The meet at the O'Connell Center Natatorium in Gainesville, Fla., is set for a 2 p.m. start.