McLean Wins 50 Freestyle; Gamecocks Perform Well on First Day of Invite
Nov. 19, 2009
COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina senior Sharntelle McLean defended her 50-yard freestyle title at the Gamecock Invitational, earning her second victory in as many years to lead the Gamecocks on the opening night of the three-day event. South Carolina is in second place in men's competition and fourth on the women's side after one day.
McLean, who set the school record with a time of 22.65 in last year's Invitational, turned in a 23.10 tonight, barely out-touching East Carolina's Jenna Stewart (23.13) and North Carolina's Rebecca Kane (23.38) to take the championship and 20 big points for the Carolina women. It was McLean's fastest time this season, falling just short of the NCAA `B' standard of 23.02.
Freshman Michael Flach, who turned in the nation's fastest 500 freestyle time to date in the morning's preliminaries, finished fourth in the evening's finals with a time of 4:26.97, four seconds off his pace from the morning. It was anybody's race at the finish with the top four finishers separated by only four-tenths of a second; North Carolina's Tyler Harris won the race with a 4:26.57. Gamecock freshman Brooks Ross was seventh with a clocking of 4:34.83, a career-best.
The Gamecock men also got big points in the 200 IM with four in the championship finals. Andy Atzhorn took third place with a time of 1:50.73, with James Crawford (1:52.67), Dominique Lendjel (1:53.81) and Bobby Cave (1:54.28) finishing sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively. Chris Kelly (1:53.12) was ninth, winning the consolation final, with Alex Fitton (1:54.14) finishing 13th and Collin Kaden (1:54.81) taking 15th. In addition, David Livsey tied for second in the 50 freestyle with a time of 21.08 with freshman Andrew Seiler in fifth at 21.17. Brett Sexton was 14th with a 21.67.
On the women's side, junior Claire Thompson took third-place points in the 500 free with a season-best 4:54.30. Duke's Ashley Twichell (4:47.68) and UNC's Katura Harvey (4:47.75) took first and second, respectively, with seven-hundredths of a second separating the two. Christine Thompson (4:56.37) won the consolation final with a time that would have earned fifth place in the `A' final, while Meghan Brockington (5:01.62) and Jordan Gibbs (5:03.30) finished 13th and 15th, respectively.
South Carolina also performed well in the relays. The night began with a third-place showing in the 200 freestyle relay by the Gamecocks' top squad of McLean, Bridget Halligan, Kristina Delp and Megan Sparks (1:34.77). The men's 200 FR team of James Crawford, Andrew Seiler, Dominique Lendjel and David Livsey took fourth place in their relay with a time of 1:24.01. In the final race of the night, Crawford, Cave, Lendjel and Livsey finished second in the 400 medley relay with a time of 3:22.20, earning 34 big points for the Gamecocks.
The second day of preliminaries gets underway at 10 a.m. Friday with diving events slated to start at noon. Admission is free to all sessions of the Gamecock Invitational at the Blatt P.E. Center.