Nov. 3, 2012
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- The South Carolina swimming and diving teams fell in a dual meet at Virginia on Saturday at the Aquatic and Fitness Center. The Gamecock men dropped a 160-126 decision, while the Carolina women lost to the 14th-ranked Cavaliers, 161-124.
With the loss, the South Carolina men fall to 1-3 on the season, and the women are now 0-4. Both Virginia squads improve to 3-0 overall. The meet wraps up one of the toughest stretches in school history, as the Gamecocks have faced national powers Texas A&M, North Carolina, Florida and Virginia in their first three meets of the season.
"We finished off the hardest stretch of dual meets I've ever had in my coaching career, and I think our kids came through it," South Carolina head coach McGee Moody said. "Mentally, I think we really had to make some adjustments today because in some areas we struggled. It was the first road meet, and we had some good swims. We also had some that were not indicative of our team. We just need to regroup and refocus and get ready for our meet with College of Charleston on Friday."
The diving corps gave the Gamecocks a solid start to the day, winning three of the four boards. The teams squared off on Friday night on the three-meter springboard. Senior Rylan Ridenour, the reigning SEC Diver of the Week, ran away with the men's competition with a score of 395.85. Sophomore Cole Miller placed second with a mark of 364.80. In the women's event, sophomore Patricia Kranz set a Virginia pool record with a score of 323.63 to win, while senior Chay Malvasio took third with a total of 283.35.
The divers returned to the pool early Saturday morning to finish off the boards before the swimming began, and the Gamecocks delivered once again. Ridenour pulled away to win the men's one-meter springboard with a score of 352.06, while Malvasio (269.63) and Kranz (264.60) finished second and third, respectively in the women's competition.
"The team performed well for the first away meet," South Carolina head diving coach Todd Sherritt said. "Getting off the bus and putting up a great performance from everyone and winning three of the four events is a great place for this team to be at this point. Virginia is a great team. It's always nice to win here."
Despite the outcome, South Carolina delivered several solid performances in the pool. On the men's side, junior Michael Flach claimed second in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:39.01 and fourth in the 200-yard backstroke with a personal record of 1:51.59. Junior Matt Navata touched second in the 200-yard butterfly in 1:51.65, while senior Collin Kaden also had a second-place finish with a time of 50.37 in the 100-yard butterfly. Junior Gerard Rodriguez finished third in the 500-yard freestyle with a mark of 4:32.49, and sophomore Michael Covert swam a personal record of 21.35 to take third in the 50-yard freestyle. Senior Brooks Ross gave a strong effort in the distance events with times of 4:36.55 in the 500 freestyle and 9:27.74 in the 1,000-yard freestyle.
The men's 400-yard freestyle relay team of Flach, Kaden, Eric Lethander and Rodriguez tied for first with a time of 3:04.04.
On the women's side, junior Amanda Rutqvist won the 200 breaststroke by more than three seconds with a time of 2:16.19. She also placed first in the 100 breaststroke with a mark of 1:04.63. Freshman Casey Papp turned in a third-place showing in the 100 freestyle in 52.49 and a fourth-place finish in the 50 freestyle with a PR of 24.06, while junior Rachael Schaffer took third in the 400-yard IM in 4:24.03. Freshman Caroline Bixler led the way in the 200 freestyle with a personal record of 1:53.94.
"Caroline Bixler had by far her best meet of the year, and Brooks Ross had an outstanding meet," Moody said. "All in all I though the meet was good, but mentally you could tell that we've had a really tough stretch early in the season. It's time for us to get back on track."
The Gamecocks will return to action next Friday on the road with a dual meet at College of Charleston. The meet is schedule to begin at 5 p.m. in Charleston, S.C.
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