COLUMBIA, South Carolina, January 12. THE University of South Carolina swimming and diving teams picked up two wins Saturday afternoon, sweeping the Duke Blue Devils at the Carolina Natatorium behind wins in 19 of 32 events.
South Carolina Press Release
In their first meet in 49 days, both the South Carolina men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams came away with convincing wins over Duke this afternoon at the Carolina Natatorium. The Gamecock men claimed their win with a score of 184-116, while the women won 167-133.
The Gamecocks won 19 of 32 events on the day and finished 1-2-3 in five events (men’s 100 backstroke, 100 butterfly, 500 freestyle; women’s 200 butterfly and 500 freestyle) and claimed at least the top two spots in 12 races. The men were led by redshirt senior Michael Flach who picked up three wins. Sophomore Marwan El Kamash and redshirt freshman Kevin Leithold each chipped in with two wins. The women got three wins from junior Victoria Mitchell, while sophomore Lauren Lamendola took two wins with a sweep in the diving events.
Flach led a dominant showing from South Carolina in each of his wins. At 9:33.33, he finished just ahead of teammate Alex Eiden in the 1,000 freestyle. In the 100 butterfly, he grabbed the top spot at 50.09, just edging out freshman Sam Lynch, while sophomore Eric Lethander took third to pull off the 1-2-3 finish. In the 200 butterfly, the Gamecocks didn’t quite get the 1-2-3, but did come away with three of the top four as Flach clocked a time of 1:48.54 and seniors Gerard Rodriguez and Matt Navata finished in third and fourth, respectively.
El Kamash (1:39.40) and Rodriguez (1:40.16) went 1-2 for the Gamecocks in the 200 freestyle. Later in the meet, Lethander joined the two as the group swept the top three spots in the 500 freestyle as El Kamash grabbed his second win of the day at 4:32.94.
In the men’s 100 freestyle, Leithold earned his first win of the afternoon, topping El Kamash with a mark of 45.90. The redshirt freshman then finished off the day with his second individual win in the day’s final individual event, posting a time of 1:52.29 in the 200 IM.
Lynch (50.85) led the way in the 100 backstroke as freshman Jonathan Boland and senior Jay Warner took second and third for another 1-2-3 finish from Carolina .
Mitchell claimed her wins in the 200 backstroke (2:01.84), and the 200 (1:51.12) and 500 (4:55.05) freestyles. Junior Elisabeth Worrell joined her in the 200 backstroke as the duo went 1-2 in the event. The Gamecocks had the top four times in the 500 freestyle as Mitchell finished ahead ofsophomores Cooper Brown and Elizabeth Maltby, and freshman Jean Livingston.
Also picking up wins for the women’s team was sophomore Ashleigh Ferguson (100 backstroke, 57.22), senior Abby Galbreath (200 IM, 2:06.98), senior Amanda Rutqvist (200 breaststroke, 2:16.86), and Worrell (200 fly, 2:03.96). In Worrell’s win in the 200 butterfly, she bested teammates junior Annika Jonsson and sophomore Caroline Bixler as the group went 1-2-3.
In the relays, the Gamecocks lone win came in the meet’s final event, the men’s 400 freestyle relay behind the team of El Kamash, Rodriguez, Flach and Leithold that posted a time of 3:04.39.
Against a tough group of divers from Duke, Lauren Lamendola gave South Carolina both of its wins as she swept the women’s boards. The sophomore topped Duke’s Kendall McClenney by just over 10 points in the 1-meter with a score of 277.72. She best McClenney again in the 3-meter, this time by less than five points, with a score of 262.05. Junior Patricia Kranz finished in third on both boards.
Junior Cole Miller had the Gamecocks best showing on the men’s side, finishing second with a score of 338.63 on the 1-meter behind 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Nick McCrory. Miller took third on the 3-meter with 340.05 points.
The Gamecocks return to the Carolina Natatorium on Jan. 24 as they host Queens University and Wingate University in a two-day meet. Senior day ceremonies begin prior to events on the second day.
Duke Press Release
The Duke men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams returned to competition Saturday for the first time since November, with the women suffering a 167-133 loss to host South Carolina and the men falling to the 25th-ranked Gamecocks by a score of 184-116. The Blue Devil women dropped to 3-2 on the season while the men slipped to 2-2 following the non-conference meet.
Freshman Maddie Rusch paced the Duke women with individual wins in the 100-yard freestyle and the 100 butterfly while senior Hunter Knight swept the breaststroke events and classmate Nick McCrory added first-place finishes in the 1-meter and 3-meter springboard diving events to lead the Blue Devil men.
“Facing an SEC, especially at their home pool, we knew they were going to be ready to go,” said head coach Dan Colella. “We’ve been training up a storm in the last several weeks and we know what we’re going to do in the final stretch will be terrific, but we weren’t running on all cylinders today … The energy and the approach was a little bit flat so we came up short. Everybody learned from this event though and we’ll be ready to go in the next competition.”
McCrory started off the afternoon with a win in the men’s 1-meter diving event, posting an NCAA Zone Championships qualifying score of 379.27. On the women’s side, sophomore Kendall McClenney also surpassed the Zones mark in a second-place finish (267.00).
Duke kept the momentum in the pool, sweeping the women’s and men’s 200 medley relays. The women’s team of sophomore Chelsea Ye, senior Christine Wixted, freshman Jessie Sutherland and senior Lauren Weaver turned in a time of 1:43.50 to edge the Gamecocks and the men’s squad of freshman Kaz Takabayashi, Knight, freshman Joe Maginnis and freshman James Peek followed with a 1:30.80 clocking.
The men’s 1,000 freestyle saw freshman Michael Miller record a season-best mark of 9:37.02 in a third-place finish while Ye (57.26) and Sutherland (57.72) were second and third, respectively, in the women’s 100 backstroke.
The Blue Devil swimmers notched their first individual wins in the 100 breaststroke, as Wixted won in 1:03.75 and Knight bested the field at 55.78. Knight went on to take the 200 breaststroke as well with a time of 2:02.93, winning both breaststroke events for the third time this season. Wixted came in second at the 200-yard distance (2:20.53), followed by graduate student Emily Barber in third (2:20.94).
Takabayashi picked up a second-place finish in the men’s 200 butterfly, touching at 1:51.26, before fellow rookie James Peek won the men’s 50 freestyle in 20.99. Weaver led the way in the same event on the women’s side, tapping the wall at 23.53, and Rusch was second in 23.73. Rusch and Weaver then flipped places at the 100-yard distance, with the freshman winning in 51.79 and the senior following in second at 52.04. Rusch earned her second win of the day in the women’s 100 butterfly (56.19), while sophomore Linsay Cooper came in second (56.75).
McCrory remained undefeated for the season with a first-place finish on the 3-meter board, collecting a Zones qualifying award of 435.38. Sophomore Deon Reid was second in the men’s competition, registering a personal-best score of 362.48 to also garner Zones qualification. In the women’s 3-meter event, McClenney placed second with 257.93 points on her list of six dives.
Freshman Bradley Cline took second in the men’s 200 IM (1:53.31) to conclude the individual events. The final races of the meet saw Weaver, senior Kelly Hagerty, sophomore Kathryn Eckhart and Rusch win the women’s 400 freestyle relay (3:29.14) and the men’s squad of junior Tyler Toren, sophomore Victor Chen, Takabayashi and Peek finish second behind South Carolina at 3:07.26.
“It’s always great when you start the meet by winning both the men’s and women’s medley relays,” Colella said. “Maddie Rusch did a great job and Hunter Knight is having an exceptional season … We just need to be a little bit more mentally ready and I think we will be [in the future].”
The Blue Devils resume ACC competition Friday, Jan. 24 when they host Virginia in dual meet action at Taishoff Aquatic Pavilion in Durham.