COLUMBIA, South Carolina, October 22. THE South Carolina swimming and diving teams turned in a dominating performance on Saturday en route to a sweep of Georgia Tech in their home opener at the Blatt P.E. Center/Carolina Natatorium.
The Gamecock women (2-1) defeated the Yellow Jackets, 176-122, while the Carolina men (1-2) cruised to a 179.5-116.5 victory. On the day, the Gamecocks recorded an impressive 25 wins out of the 32 events.
"We had a good day. This was the kind of performance we were hoping to get last week, but we didn't get it," South Carolina head coach McGee Moody said. "We had a great week of practice. They were as disappointed with last week's performance as anybody, and it showed today. They were tough in a lot of their races and they gutted it out at the end. They just really wanted to rebound from last week, and we saw that. I was really proud of them today."
The Carolina diving corps gave the Gamecocks plenty of momentum heading into the swimming events by sweeping the boards. Senior Courtney Forcucci won both the one and three-meter springboards with NCAA Zone qualifying scores of 295.35 and 343.20. Freshman Patricia Kranz finished second on the three-meter board with a Zone qualifying score of 325.88. On the men's boards, junior Rylan Ridenour posted a Zone qualifying score of 387.75 to win the one-meter springboard, while freshman Cole Miller placed second with a Zone score of 348.82. Miller also won the three-meter event with a Zone score of 380.77, and Ridenour finished second with a qualifying score of 372.60.
"Our divers were back to form this week," Moody said. "Today everybody was really solid. It's good as a head coach to be able to rely on those divers to be able to always score points. I was really proud of them."
On the women's side, junior Matea Peteh was a part of three wins. She claimed first in the 100 and 200 backstroke with career best times of 57.22 and 2:02.73, respectively. She also helped lead the Gamecock 200 medley relay team with Amanda Rutqvist, Meghan Brockington and Rachel Elliott to a first-place showing with a time of 1:46.81.
Freshman Matt Navata had a strong showing for the Gamecock men with a win in the 200 butterfly with a time of 1:53.38 and a second-place finish in the 200 backstroke with a time of 1:52.81.
The Gamecocks also had a stellar day in the distance events as they claimed the top two spots in the men and women's 500 freestyle and the men's 1,000 freestyle and the top three spots in the women's 1,000 freestyle.
"The men and women kind of separated themselves," Moody said. "Those are big points for us. If they can continue to move forward, they will continue to establish themselves as one of the better distance groups in the country.
Junior Jordan Gibbs led the way in the women's 500 freestyle, winning with a time of 5:02.2, followed by teammate Whitney Avers with a time of 5:02.51. Junior Matt Columbus won the men's event with a time of 4:37.28 ahead of teammate Brooks Ross' time of 4:41.68.
In the women's 1,000 freestyle, sophomore Abby Galbreath took first place for the Gamecocks in a time of 10:18.58, followed by teammates Annika Jonsson (10:19.16) and Gibbs (10:19.22). Ross grabbed first in the men's race for Carolina with a time of 9:32.36, followed by Columbus in a time of 9:36.2.
Juniors Max Heinze, Bobby Cave and Isaac Badillo and senior Andrew Seiler teamed up to win the 200 medley relay for Carolina with a time of 1:32.39.
Sophomore Gerard Rodriguez won the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:40.57, followed by teammate James Crawford with a time of 1:42.18.
The Gamecocks took the top three spots in the men's 100 backstroke, as Heinze led the way with a time of 50.75. Freshman Michael Covert claimed second with a time of 51.48, and sophomore Jay Warner placed third in a time of 51.58.
Carolina swept the breaststroke events, as Rutqvist claimed both the women's 100 and 200 breaststroke races with times of 1:05.03 and 2:17.81, respectively. Cave won both events on the men's side with times of 57.73 and 2:05.91.
Also collecting wins for the Gamecocks were Badillo in the 100 butterfly (49.56), Schaffer in the women's 200 IM (2:04.85) and Collin Kaden in the men's 200 IM (1:53.39).
The Gamecocks return to action next Saturday in their final meet against rival Clemson. The swimming portion of the meet begins at 12 p.m. in Greenville, S.C. The diving events will be held on Friday at 6:30 p.m. at the Blatt P.E. Center/Carolina Natatorium.
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