Walkotten, Five Others Advance to Finals
Feb. 21, 2009
AUBURN, Ala. - Nicholas Walkotten will get a chance to go for his second SEC medal in the 200-yard butterfly Saturday night after earning a spot in the championship final Saturday morning in the final day of SEC Championship preliminaries. In all, South Carolina will advance three men and three women to the evening's finals at the Martin Aquatic Center, not including several competing in timed finals of the 1650 freestyle.
Walkotten grabbed the eighth and final spot in the championship final with his time of 1:45.53, earning his second appearance in the 200 fly finals after finishing as the SEC runner-up a year ago. The senior has already set a school record this week in the 100 backstroke, and will look to lower his own record in the 200 fly tonight.
Sophomore Megan Sparks continued the trend of record-setting performances for the Gamecocks, turning in a school-record time of 1:57.66 in the 200 backstroke to grab a 14th place finish and a spot in the consolation final. Sparks snapped a four-year-old record of Michelle McCarthy, who swam a 1:58.11 in 2005.
Joining Sparks on the women's side for the evening's finals will be Amanda Dunnigan, who swam a personal-best 2:14.39 - the second-fastest time in school history - to earn a 10th-place finish and a spot in the consolation finals of the 200 breaststroke. Dunnigan earned an NCAA provisional cut with her time, but it was the first event of the championships in which she did not set a school record - she owns or shares five from this week already.
Freshman Lindsey Olson will swim her second final of these championships, earning the 16th and final spot in the 200 butterfly with a time of 2:00.92. Olson earned a 13th-place finish in the 500 freestyle on Thursday.
For the men, it will be senior Kyle Cormier looking for another big swim in the 100 freestyle after earning a 12th-place spot in the consolation final with an NCAA provisional time of 43.72. Also, freshman Armin Hornikel will swim his second final of the weekend in the men's 200 breaststroke after a 13th-place time of 2:00.92.
South Carolina's women need strong swims from all of their finalists as they currently stand seventh in the team score, 16 points behind sixth-place Arkansas and 20 points ahead of eighth-place Kentucky. The men will look to increase their point total with their finalists tonight as well.
Timed finals of the 1650 freestyle get underway at approximately 4 p.m., with the fastest heat to be swam at 6 p.m. at the start of the finals session. Live results will be available through AuburnTigers.com.
SOUTH CAROLINA PRELIMINARIES RESULTS - SATURDAY