Swimmers Conclude Successful Weekend at U.S. Short Course Nationals
Dec. 6, 2008
ATLANTA - South Carolina's swimming team wrapped up a strong three days of competition Saturday night at Georgia Tech as 10 Gamecock swimmers competed in their respective finals events at the U.S. Short Course National Championships.
Nicholas Walkotten lowered his NCAA `B' cut time in the 200-yard butterfly, turning in a 19th-place performance with a time of 1:45.15 to cap off a meet where he met the `B' standard in two events (the other was the 100 fly).
Also for the men, Kyle Cormier fell .02 seconds short of his personal best and only two-tenths of a second short of another NCAA `B' cut in the 100 freestyle with his time of 43.95. Cormier had the most successful weekend of the Gamecocks, breaking the school record in the 200 free on Friday night and earning a `B' cut in the process.
Freshman Armin Hornikel turned in a personal-best time in the 200-yard breaststroke with a 19th-place time of 2:02.40, surpassing his previous best by nearly two seconds. Two other freshmen, James Crawford and Chris Kelly, had strong swims in the 200 backstroke finals as Kelly swam a Carolina season-best 1:46.23 and Crawford touched in 1:46.58.
For the Gamecock women, Lindsey Olson came within .09 seconds of the NCAA `B' qualifying standard in the 200 butterfly, touching in a personal-best time of 2:00.03 for a 10th-place finish; the best finish for the Carolina women in the championships.
Senior Amanda Dunnigan lowered her season-best time in the 200 breaststroke to 2:16.80, coming within less than a second of an NCAA `B' cut. She took a 13th-place overall finish in the finals. In addition, Megan Sparks finished 16th in the 200 backstroke with her time of 1:59.42.
Also for South Carolina, Christine and Claire Thompson competed in the 1,650 freestyle. Christine took a 25th-place finish with a time of 16:51.52, and Claire finished 35th with a 17:30.28.
Meanwhile, in Columbus, Ohio, the Gamecock divers improved from their first day of competition at the Ohio State Invitational as three Carolina divers finished in the top 16 of their respective events. Corry Christian took a 16th-place finish for the Gamecock men in the three-meter competition, and Helen Alvey and Allison Barr took 13th and 14th, respectively, in the women's one-meter event. Sophomore Taryn Zack, the three-time SEC Diver of the Week, sustained an injury during Friday's three-meter preliminaries and withdrew from the competition.
The swimming and diving teams will now turn their attention to final exams over the next week and the coming holiday break and training before taking to the competition pool again in January. The next meet for the Gamecocks is Saturday, Jan. 10, 2009, as they will participate in a tri-meet with Davidson and Duke in Durham, N.C.
PRELIMINARIES: Eight Swimmers Advance to Saturday Finals
The South Carolina swimming team advanced eight athletes to Saturday night's finals at the U.S. Short Course National Championships, led by sophomore Megan Sparks, who advanced to the `B' final in the 200-yard backstroke and came within striking distance of her second school record of the season.
Sparks turned in a 13th-place time of 1:58.53, by far the best of the season for South Carolina in the 200 back, coming within a half-second of a 14-year-old school record in the event. She was one of three Gamecock women to advance to the evening finals in their respective events.
Joining Sparks tonight will be senior Amanda Dunnigan, whose time of 2:17.04 in the 200 breaststroke was good enough for 13th place and a spot in the `B' final. Lydia Hackert also turned in a solid time in the 200 breast, finishing 33rd with a 2:20.59.
Lindsey Olson, a freshman from Charleston, will swim her second final of the championships after earning her way to the `B' final with a 2:01.24 in the 200 butterfly, good enough for 14th place.
Five Gamecocks on the men's side will also swim Saturday night, led by freshman James Crawford, who swam a career-best 1:46.43 in the 200 backstroke, earning an 11th place finish and a spot in the `B' final. He will be joined by fellow freshman Chris Kelly, whose 19th place time of 1:47.09 is the second-best for South Carolina this season and gets him a spot in the `C' final. Andrew Atzhorn took 32nd in the preliminaries of that event with a 1:49.62.
Kyle Cormier will swim in a finals event for the third time in three nights as he advanced to the `C' final of the 100 freestyle with a 21st-place time of 44.37. Rory Grigull (45.49) and David Livsey (45.89) both set personal-best marks in the event as well, finishing 46th and 55th, respectively.
Another freshman, Armin Hornikel, will swim his second final of the weekend with a 19th-place finish in the 200 breaststroke prelims. He touched the wall in a season-best time of 2:03.08 to earn a spot in the `C' final of that event.
Senior Nicholas Walkotten rounds out the group of Carolina swimmers that advanced to finals as his 1:48.31 in the 200 butterfly earned him a spot in the `C' final with his 21st place finish. Chris Kelly (1:50.11) and David Livsey (1:52.99) missed the finals but swam their personal-best times, and Steven Luckie finished with a 1:52.94.
Finals get underway at 6 p.m., and live results will be available through omegatiming.com. In addition, swimnetwork.com will stream the entire event on their web site.