Swimming & Diving Travels to ECU, UNCW This Weekend
Jan. 20, 2011
By Wes Todd
COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina will hit the road for the final time in the 2010-11 dual-meet season with a pair of meets over the weekend. The Gamecocks will travel to East Carolina for a 4 p.m. meet Friday and follow that up with a 2 p.m. meet at UNC Wilmington on Saturday.
The No. 23-ranked Gamecock men enter the meet at 7-0 overall (1-0 SEC), looking to build on the best start in program history. Carolina's women are 5-4; one win this weekend would give the Gamecocks their highest win total since 2002. ECU's men are 5-1 overall while the Pirate women are 5-2, and the Seahawk men carry a 5-4 record while UNCW's women are 10-3 overall.
South Carolina's men have met East Carolina six times in dual-meet action with the Gamecocks holding a 4-2 all-time advantage; the last meeting came in 1984 where the Gamecocks took a 59-39 win. On the women's side, this will be just the second meeting between the schools; the Gamecocks won the only prior meeting in 1980. Carolina's men are 4-1 all-time against UNC Wilmington, with the Gamecock women holding a perfect 5-0 advantage. The Gamecocks swept last season's meeting in Columbia.
Friday's meet will be a homecoming of sorts for fourth-year head coach McGee Moody. He will face his alma mater of East Carolina for the first time in dual-meet competition since taking the reins of the swimming and diving program at South Carolina. Moody was a four-year letterwinner and two-year captain for the Pirates, earning his degree from ECU in 1998. He was also an assistant coach for the Pirates for four years.
The Pirate men are led by their distance corps, with senior Thiago Cavalcanti setting the pace in the 500, 1000 and 1650 freestyle and posting an NCAA `B' cut time in the 1650. The Gamecocks will counter with their own group of distance specialists as sophomores Michael Flach, Brooks Ross and Matt Columbus, along with junior Dan Jackson, have been outstanding in the mid-distance and distance events.
For the ECU women, the sprinters have been the strength of the squad as senior Jenna Stewart owns a `B' cut time in the 50 free and has just missed in the 100 free, and junior Natalia Favoreto also a strong competitor. Carolina will have senior Bridget Halligan, who is putting together some of the best swims of her career, to compete with those strong ECU swimmers. Freshmen Rachael Schaffer and Amanda Rutqvist will also be in position to score big points in the breaststroke and IM events, and sophomore Whitney Avers continues to come on strong in the butterfly.
UNC Wilmington's biggest strength is its men's diving squad, while the women's sprints and relays have been a strong suit for the Seahawks. The Gamecock divers will look for more strong performances from sophomore Rylan Ridenour on the men's side, and senior Taryn Zack and junior Courtney Forcucci in the women's meet.
Friday's meet gets underway at 4 p.m. at the Menges Aquatic Center in Greenville, N.C. Saturday's meeting with UNCW is set for a 2 p.m. start at Wilmington's Seahawk Natatorium. There will be no live stats for either meet.