COLUMBIA, S.C. - After being out of competition since Nov. 23, South Carolina returns to the pool this weekend as the team hosts Duke at the Carolina Natatorium on Saturday. The 1-meter diving events will start the day at 1 p.m. with swimming events getting underway at 2 p.m.
WEEKEND INFORMATION Date/Opponent: Saturday, Jan. 11 vs. Duke Time: 1 p.m. ET Live Results Location: Columbia, S.C. Facilty: Carolina Natatorium Twitter: @GamecockSwim
LAST TIME VS. DUKE South Carolina met Duke last year on Jan. 12 as they opened 2013 with a sweep over the Blue Devils on the road at the Taishoff Aquatic Pavilion. The Gamecock women cruised to a 184-115 victory and the Carolina men edged the Blue Devils 159-141. The victory was the fourth straight over Duke for the Gamecock men and the second straight for the women's team. On the day South Carolina finished first in 18 of the 32 events and swept the top three places in five events. Brooks RossMichael Flach, Matt Navata and Rachael Schaffer led the way with two wins apiece.
SCOUTING DUKE The Duke men are 2-1 overall in dual meets on the year after topping UNC Wilmington and William & Mary, while the women are 3-1with wins over UNC Wilmington, William & Mary and Miami. Both teams fell to ranked NC State squads in Raleigh, N.C. The Blue Devils finished their fall season on Nov. 23 at the Nike Cup invitational where both teams finished in fourth place. Duke's men have posted three `B' cut times this season, with two coming from Hunter Knight in the 100 and 200 breaststroke. The team's divers are led by 2012 Olympic bronze medalist, 9-time All-America and three-time NCAA platform champion Nick McCrory. The Blue Devil women have posted six `B' cuts heading into the meet, led by Maddie Rusch (50 free, 100 fly) and Christine Wixted (100 and 200 breaststroke, 200 IM). Wixted set Duke's school records in the 200 breaststroke at 200 IM at the Nike Cup.
GAINING MOMENTUM TO END THE FALL The Gamecocks put together one of their best performances at an invitational in program history, totaling 15 NCAA B cut times during the three-day Virginia Tech Invitational, with 11 of those times coming from the men's team which moved up to No. 17 in Endless Pools' rankings following the meet. Redshirt freshman Kevin Leithold led the way with five times that rank in the nation's top 30, including the fourth-fastest mark in the 100 breaststroke at 53.57, which broke the school's seven-year-old record in the event. Redshirt senior Michael Flach posted three B cuts, while seniors Gerard Rodriguez had two and Jay Warner chipped in one. On the women's side, South Carolina earned a pair of B cuts in the 200 breaststroke and 400 IM. Junior Victoria Mitchell earned one in each event as he won the 400 IM and took fourth in the 200 breaststroke. Senior Amanda Rutqvist earned her B cut as she won the 200 breaststroke, while senior Abby Galbreath was right behind Mitchell in the 400 IM to capture hers.
GERMAN DOMINATION In 11 individual races this season (not including prelims), redshirt freshman Kevin Leithold has claimed first in all but two (finished with fastest time of 200 IM finals at the VT Invitational, through the `B' final). The native of Sandersdorf, Germany continually grew stronger as the fall went on. In the final meet of the fall, Leithold clocked five `B' cuts and now ranks in the Top 50 nationally in the 100 breaststroke at 12th (53.57), the 100 freestyle at 24th (43.56) and the 200 IM at 37th (1:46.75). In the SEC, his times rank 6th in the 100 freestyle, 9th in the 200 freestyle, 4th in the 100 breaststroke, 9th in the 100 butterfly and 9th in the 200 IM.
BREAKING NATIONAL RECORDS Already one of the top swimmers in Egypt, sophomore Marwan El Kamash solidified his spot in late November at the Egyptian Championships where he broke both the 400 and 800 freestyle national records. In four races at the Championships, the native of Alexandria, Egypt, won the 200, 400 and 800 freestyles, and took second in the 50 freestyle.
MEN CAPTURE FIRST SEC WIN OF 2013 Led by redshirt freshman Kevin Leithold who won three individual races (100 breaststroke, 100 butterfly, 100 freestyle) and led the Gamecock 400 freestyle relay team victory, the squad defeated LSU 166-134 at Carolina Natatorium. The Gamecocks won a total of eight events, finishing at least first and second in five of those races. Senior Gerard Rodriguez earned wins in both the 200 and 500 freestyles, while fellow senior Michael Flach was right behind him.
MEN ROLL IN GREENVILLE The 25th-ranked men's team claimed 13 events, led by senior Michael Flach and redshirt freshman Kevin Leithold who each grabbed three individual wins. Slow to start the season, Flach picked things up today by winning the 100 (50.49) and 200 (1:51.50) butterfly and the 1000 freestyle (9:31.56). Leithold, who made a big splash at Tennessee, won the 50 (21.16) and 100 (45.97) freestyle along with the 200 IM (1:51.17). The two also teamed up with junior Michael Covert and senior Gerard Rodriguez to win the 400 freestyle relay at 3:06.78.
NATIONALLY RANKED IN OPENING POLL After some standout performances at No. 8 Tennessee, the South Carolina men's swimming and diving team is ranked No. 25 in the first College Swimming Coaches Association of America Division I Team Rankings of the 2013-14 season.
DIVING TOWARD THE TOP OF THE SEC In back-to-back weeks to start the season, South Carolina had one its divers named SEC Diver of the week. Junior Cole Miller won the honor on Oct. 22 after producing big results at Tennessee. He claimed the 3-meter board title with 409.28 points, his second consecutive week scoring over 400 points in that event. The junior finished second on the 1-meter board with 328.65 points, falling to former SEC platform champion Mauricio Robles by 0.15 points after the final dive. His mark on the 3-meter at Tennessee currently leads the conference, while his total of 365.02 on the 1-meter against College of Charleston is second. A week prior, junior Patricia Kranz was named SEC Female Diver of the Week (10/15) after winning the three-meter springboard at the dual meet against College of Charleston. She earned the honor after placing first in the three-meter and taking second in the one-meter board. Her mark of 369.23 points was just shy of a career mark in the event. She finished with 303.52 points in the one-meter. Her score in the three-meter currently ranks first in the SEC, while her one-meter score ranks second in the conference.
YOUTH MOVEMENT At Tennessee, redshirt freshman Kevin Leithold and true freshman Sam Lynch produced nationally ranked times en-route to wins. Leithold posted the nation's 12th ranked time in the 100 freestyle as he won the event at 44.61. The redshirt freshman also claimed the win in the 100 breaststroke with the 23rd ranked time of 56.27. Lynch posted the 18th fastest time in the 100 butterfly as he won the event in 48.98.
TRANSFERRING IMPACT Since transferring from Louisville, Victoria Mitchell has made an immediate impact on the women's team as she's won 11 events this season, claiming at least two wins at all five meets during the fall. Individually, the junior won the 200 and 800 freestyles two weeks ago at College. She concluded the fall by clocking `B' cuts in the 200 breaststroke (1:58.38) and 400 IM (4:17.20).