COLUMBIA, South Carolina, November 1. THE South Carolina men's and women's swimming and diving teams defeated the University of Kentucky Friday night at the Carolina Natatorium. The men's team won a hard-fought meet by a score of 125-118 and the women's team won convincingly 163.5-78.5.
"It feels nice to win here," said head men's and women's coach Don Gibb. "We did better than we expected. The men were very evenly matched; on paper, Kentucky is even a little better, but we swam well tonight. Both teams swam well. We did better tonight than we did at Virginia, which is what we are trying to do – improve with every meet that we are in."
Leading the way for the women was freshman Stephanie Margalis, who won every event that she swam, including a team top time of 10:06.32 in the 1000 Free. She also won the 200 Individual medley and the 500 Freestyle.
Bronwyn Dedekind also achieved a team top time in the 200 Butterfly with a time of 2:04:38. Other individual winners on the women's team were Jennifer VanAssen (200 Free), Anna Nyiry (50 Free), and Heather Skaggs (100 Free).
The men had a tougher time defeating the 21st – ranked Wildcats. Four members of the men's team reached team top times. Tamas Szucs' time of 1:38.21 in the 200 Free was good enough to make the NCAA B-qualifying standard. Szucs also won the 500 Free. Other top times included Lir Derieg's 51.75 in the 100 Backstroke, Chris McCrary's 20.63 in the 50 Free, and Ed Murphy's 46.70 in the 100 Free.
"I think we had some really strong individual performances tonight," said coach Gibb. "Our newcomers stepped up and did well, especially our freshmen. We had a freshman anchoring the 400 Free relay which we needed to win to win the meet and Reid Duff came through for us. That was big. Katie Bowden also did an outstanding job in the distance events, coming in second only to Stephanie. It looks good for our team right now."
The Gamecock diving team won all four of the diving competitions, placing first in all individual categories. For the men, Andy Bradley continued to shine as he won his third straight competition of the year. This was the first meet where Bradley did not break a record. He won both the 1- and 3-meter boards. For the women, the first three spots were occupied by Carolina. In the 1-meter board competition, sophomore Allison Brennan placed first followed by Tracey Richardson and Holly Hodges. In the 3-meter event, Richardson took first and was followed by Lauren King and Brennan.
Junior Joey Faltraco gave a great effort for the UK men (0-3, 0-3 SEC) as he won three events. Faltraco, who transferred to UK from South Carolina, won the 1,000-free, 200-back and 200-IM.
Senior Roger Watkins was victorious in the 100-breast (1:01.05), while fellow senior Aaron Cuker (1:01.47) took second in the event. Daniel Cruz gave a strong effort for the Cats as he won the 100-fly (52.67).
Kentucky's 400-medley relay team was also victorious, finishing in 3:26.90.
Senior All-American diver Clayton Moss, who has been battling injuries in the early season, finished second in both the one-meter and three-meter springboards.
The UK women struggled on the afternoon, with only two first-place finishes. Their strongest race came in the 100-breast, where Kendra Trahan (1:09.03), Laura Graham (1:10.59) and Shantel Commander (1:11.03) were the top three finishers.
Freshman Brennan Moore continued her successful season by winning the 100-back in a time of 1:01.44. Sophomore Chrissy Miller took home second-place finishes in both the 100 and 200-free.
The Gamecocks will next be in action against in-state rival Clemson at home on Nov. 8. The meet is scheduled to begin at 5:00 p.m. at the Carolina Natatorium.
Kentucky will be back in action for the Cats when they travel to Chapel Hill, N.C. for the Nike Cup Invitational on Nov. 21-24.