Nov. 16, 2012
CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. -- The South Carolina swimming and diving teams put forth another solid performance on Friday night in the finals of the Virginia Tech Invitational as they won five events and posted three NCAA B cuts at the Christiansburg Aquatic Center.
For the night, the Gamecocks had 21 swimmers in the championship finals and five divers in their respective finals. Through two days of competition, host Virginia Tech leads the women's competition with 1016.5 points, followed by the Gamecocks (569.5), Connecticut (359.5), William and Mary (355.5) and Liberty (264). In the men's competition, the 15th-ranked Hokies lead with a score of 1,038, followed by the No. 21 Gamecocks (710.5), Connecticut (362.5) and William and Mary (325).
"Tonight was another strong night," South Carolina head coach McGee Moody said. "We had some really, really strong performances. Graham Kauffman dropped more time in the 100 breaststroke and he's really starting to step up and come into his own as a part of our breaststroke group. He's worked really hard to get there. Michael Flach, Amanda Rutqvist and Rachael Schaffer and our relay groups also had really strong swims. We had some really good swims in between as well. We now need to focus on tomorrow morning and locking down spots in the finals and try to finish what is shaping up to be an outstanding weekend."
For the second time in as many days, Flach shot up the national time charts as he won the men's 200-yard freestyle with a NCAA B cut of 1:35.86, which is the second fastest time in the country. Freshman Marwan El Kamash and sophomore Michael Covert tied for fifth in the championship final with a time of 1:40.80, which is a personal record for Covert. Junior Gerard Rodriguez placed seventh in 1:41.40. Freshman Alex Eiden won the consolation final with a personal best of 1:40.50 to finish ninth overall, while senior Matt Columbus won the C final with a time of 1:41.76. In the women's finals, freshman Caroline Bixler led the way with a second-place finish in the consolation final with a personal best of 1:52.45.
Schaffer got the Gamecocks off to a solid start in the individual events as she swam more than eight seconds faster than her preliminary time in the 400-yard IM to win the championship final with a NCAA B cut of 4:16.25. Junior Abby Galbreath claimed third with a season-best time of 4:21.99, and freshman Ellen Johnson placed seventh with a personal record of 4:30.73. In the men's event, juniors Matt Navata (3:58.31) and Narayan Naik (4:01.29) finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
In the women's 100-yard breaststroke, Rutqvist swam to a victory in the championship final with a NCAA B cut of 1:00.91. Her time currently ranks seventh in the country. Freshman Elise Weisert posted a personal record of 1:05.53 to win the consolation final and finish ninth overall.
Kauffman picked up his first win as a Gamecock as he claimed first in the championship final of the 100 breaststroke with a personal record of 55.58. Sophomore Alex Vance (56.37, PR) and senior Bobby Cave (57.45) claimed seventh and eighth, respectively.
In the women's 100-yard butterfly championship final, freshman Casey Papp turned in a third-place finish with a personal record of 55.62, which is the 10th fastest time in program history. Junior Meghan Brockington took sixth with a mark of 55.97, and sophomore Sara Drake won the C final to finish 17th overall with a time of 56.84. In the men's event, senior Collin Kaden led the way with a third-place finish in 48.75, while juniors Alex Fitton (49.39, PR) and Jay Warner (50.99) touched the wall in fifth and eighth, respectively. Freshman Eric Lethander won the consolation final to take ninth with a personal best of 50.47.
South Carolina had two swimmers in the women's 100-yard backstroke championship final, as freshmen Ashleigh Ferguson (57.33) and Alicia Cheripka (57.53) finished seventh and eighth, respectively. Junior Lindsay Pierce swam a personal best of 56.12 to win the consolation final just ahead of freshman Nicole Mertel, who took 10th overall with a personal best of 56.41. Covert led the Carolina men with a seventh-place finish in the championship final in 50.45, while Warner won the consolation final in 50.49.
The Gamecock relay teams put together another stellar performance on Friday. The men's 800-yard freestyle relay team of El Kamash, Flach, Fitton and Rodriguez won the event with a time of 6:34.01. The women's 200-yard medley relay team of Cheripka, Rutqvist, Papp and Rachel Elliott finished second with a time of 1:42.57, which is the sixth fastest time in school history. The Gamecock men's team of Warner, Kauffman, Kaden and Fitton also claimed second with a time of 1:29.54, which ranks fourth all-time at South Carolina.
In the diving events, senior Rylan Ridenour gave the Gamecocks a second-place finish on the three-meter springboard with 371.45 points, while sophomore Cole Miller took fifth with a total of 330.95. In the women's one-meter springboard finals, senior Chay Malvasio finished fifth in with a score of 258.95, while sophomore Patricia Kranz (250.45) and freshman Lauren Lamendola (221.95) placed sixth and eighth, respectively.
The final day of the invitational will be held on Saturday with preliminaries beginning at 10 a.m. and the finals at 6 p.m. Live results will be available by clicking here. Live video of the finals only will also be available here.
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