South Carolina, LSU Sharp In Saturday SEC Dual

COLUMBIA, South Carolina, November 9. THE University of South Carolina men and Louisiana State women looked impressive this morning, as USC and LSU split their SEC dual meet this morning in Columbia. South Carolina’s Kevin Leithold led the way as he was the only swimmer to win three events at the meet.

South Carolina Press Release

The 25th-ranked University of South Carolina men’s swimming & diving team swam past LSU, 166-134 on at the Carolina Natatorium on Saturday morning, while the Tiger women posted a 168.50-131.50 victory over the Gamecock women.

The Gamecock men improved to 3-1 on the season, including a 1-1 mark in SEC action, while the women slipped to 1-3 overall and 0-2 in the SEC. The LSU men fell to 0-3 with all three losses coming against SEC opposition. The Tiger women evened their record at 2-2.

“From a standpoint of being as focused as we were today, I was really happy,” said head coach McGee Moody following the meet. “I thought we were focused on the men’s side and I thought our women swam great. We came up a little short on the women’s side, but that was by far our best meet that we’ve had. The LSU women’s team is in the top 25 or 30 every week of the year and we took them as far as we could,” noted Moody. “On the men’s side, we had some outstanding races. So we’re setting ourselves up to where we need to be. I think we’ve got ourselves in a good mindset going to Blacksburg in a couple of weeks.”

The Gamecock men were led by Kevin Leithold, a redshirt freshman from Sandersdorf, Germany. Leithold took home first place finishes in the 100-breaststroke, the 100-freestyle, the 100-butterfly and swam the anchor leg on the winning 400-freestyle relay.

“He had a huge day,” said Moody of Leithold. “The 100-breaststroke was big. That was the first time he got to swim the 100-fly this season, and his 100-freestyle was a huge win. That last relay, he split 43.7 in the 100 freestyle, one of the fastest free splits in the nation to date. I’m happy with him. We know he’s going to be automatic points every week.”

The Gamecocks also gained much-needed points in the diving events, with Patty Kranz and Cole Miller taking top honors on both boards.

“LSU is a great diving team,” noted Carolina diving coach Todd Sherritt. “I knew we could do it, but I was pretty amazed. Two great performances were from Patty Kranz stepping up on the three-meter and Cole (Miller). I don’t think he’s lost the three-meter yet and he’s gone up against good divers. People are going to be gunning for him in the conference. He’s really established himself,” added Sherritt.

Abby Galbreath earned the initial first-place finish for Carolina with a win in in the women’s 1000-yard freestyle, capturing the race in 10:14.90. Elizabeth Maltby and Annika Jonsson took third and fourth for the Gamecocks respectively, as the team garnered 14 points.

The Carolina men took the top two spots in the 1000-yard free with Marwan El Kamash touching first in 9:33.04 and Alex Eiden edging LSU’s Elliot Dewlen for second by .24 seconds.

In the 200-yard freestyle, Gerard Rodriguez and Michael Flach both went under 1:41 to finish 1-2 for the Carolina men, while Victoria Mitchell placed second for the Gamecocks on the women’s side.

Carolina posted a pair of victories in the 100-yard breaststroke. Amanda Rutqvist took the top honors on the women’s side in a season-best time of 1:04.64, while Leithold won the men’s race in 55.36, also a season-best time.

LSU took the top spot in the next four races, winning both the men’s and women’s 200-yard butterfly and the men’s and women’s 50-yard freestyle to take an 80.5-50.5 lead on the women’s side and a slim 66-65 advantage in the men’s competition at the first break.

Leithold, who earlier captured the 100-yard breast, won for the second time in the 100-yard freestyle in a time of 44.87.

Mitchell claimed first for the women in the 200-yard backstroke in a time of 2:00.03. Michael Covert logged a second-place finish for the Carolina men with a time of 1;50.79.

Rutqvist won for the second time on the day, taking first place honors in the women’s 200-yard breaststroke in a time of 2:18.84. Jared Kauffman was the Gamecocks’ top finisher in the same event on the men’s side, taking second in 2:04.03.

Mitchell won for the second time on the day with a victory in the women’s 500-yard freestyle, taking top honors in 4:57.49. Rodriguez won for the second time as well, posting a time of 4:36.93 to garner the top spot in the men’s 500-yard freestyle. Michael Flach and Alex Eiden finished second and third, giving Carolina 16 team points.

Leithold won his third race of the day, taking first in the 100-yard butterfly in a time of 49.61. Lauren Raczkowsi took second in the women’s race in 57.60.

The Gamecock men improved to 5-3 in the all-time series with LSU, while the Carolina women have won just two of eight battles with the Tigers.

The Gamecocks came up big in the men’s 200-yard IM with Jared Kauffman and Matt Navata taking first and second place, respectively. Abby Galbreath was a second-place finisher for the Carolina women.

The Carolina quartet of Marwan El Kamash, Michael Flach, Michael Covert and Kevin Leithold capped the meet with a victory in the 400-yard freestyle relay in a time of 3:01.42.

The next meet is the Virginia Tech Invitational, scheduled for November 21-23 in Blacksburg, Va.

LSU Press Release

The LSU Swimming and Diving team splits its first road meet of the year Saturday morning against South Carolina. The Lady Tigers won 168.5-131.5 and the men fell 166-134.

“It was a great overall performance on the women’s side. We had a huge start with a one two finish in the relay. The women are starting to get more comfortable and gain confidence racing in dual meet lineups.”

The Lady Tigers (2-2, 1-2 SEC) were led by freshman Kara Kopcso and junior Amber Carter who both won two events. Kopcso placed first in the 100 butterfly (55.30) and 200 butterfly (2:01.07). She now has five wins on the year. Carter earned her first victories of the year in the 50 freestyle (23.36) and 100 freestyle (51.51).

To start off the meet, LSU’s team of Caley Oquist, Taryn Mackenzie, Rainey White and Carter won the 200 Medley Relay with a mark of 1:43.24. The team of Katlin Sepp, Colleen O’Neil, Kopcso and Troskot placed second with a time of 1:46.25.

Devon Dabney went on to place second in the 1000 free with a time of 10:19.04.

Megan Cox and Oquist then touched the wall first in the 200 freestyle (1:50.34) and 100 backstroke (56.74).

In the 100 breaststroke, senior Torrey Bussey placed second in the 100 breaststroke with a mark of 1:05.20. Mackenzie placed third in the same event with a time of 1:05.87.

Sophie Weber finished the meet with a win in the 200 IM (2:04.46) and second place finish in the 200 butterfly (2:02.36).

The men’s swimming and diving team (0-3, 0-3 SEC) fell to the Gamecocks 166-134. Michael Young led the Tigers with two wins in the 100 backstroke (49.16) and 200 backstroke (1:47.31).

Junior Frank Greeff collected his first win of the year in the 200 butterfly with a mark of 1:50.36. He also had a second place finish in the 100 butterfly with a time of 49.76.

Michael Saco also had a win in the 50 freestyle with a mark of 20.65 and a second place finish in the 100 freestyle (45.95).

Ricardo Alvarado Jiminez also placed first in the 200 breaststroke with a mark of 2:03.29.

The men’s relay team of Young, Gabe Rooker, Greeff and Saco placed first in the 200-medley relay. The team of Alex Linge, Saco, Marco Gonzalez and Young were runner up in the 400 freestyle relay.

“Our men fought really hard until the end of the meet,” Geyer said. “Moving forward this is a young team that is getting more and more accustomed to stepping up and racing. They are starting to work together and I’m really looking forward to our midseason invite.”

On the diving side, Alex Bettridge placed second in the 1-meter dive with a score of 301.05 and Izzy Choquehuanca placed third with a score of 269.10. Sophomore Cassie Weil scored a 306.53 in the 3-meter dive for a second place finish.

Senior Kevin Leong continued his successful season with a third place finish in the 1-meter dive and second place finish in the 3-meter dive. Sean McKinney also finished second in the 1-meter dive with a score of 337.65.

“We had a great battle on the boards and competed well,” LSU diving coach Doug Shaffer said. “We faltered a bit on our execution, which cost us. It’s those details you have to learn and work out.”

Both teams will take the week off before traveling to College Station, Texas for the Texas A&M Invitational Nov. 21-23.

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