South Carolina vs. Kentucky

COLUMBIA, South Carolina. October 9. SOUTH Carolina's men's swimming and diving team defeated an SEC opponent for the first time in three years as they downed Kentucky 160-140 at the Carolina Natatorium. The Gamecock women put together a strong performance, but dropped a 168-130 decision to the Wildcats.

The Gamecocks got strong performances where they most needed them – in distance and stroke events, and also in the diving well. Major contributions came from freshmen, particularly Bobby Cave, Michael Flach, Brooks Ross and Rylan Ridenour.

Cave, a native of London, won both his events in his initial collegiate competition. He took first place in the 100-yard breaststroke in 57.81 seconds, eking out a one-hundredth of a second victory over Kentucky's Julio Vallette. He also led a 1-2 finish in the 200 breast, running away from the field in 2:03.51, three seconds ahead of teammate Armin Hornikel in second place (2:06.53).

Flach, who was the No. 91-ranked recruit in the nation when he signed with Carolina, lived up to his billing with victories in the 200 butterfly (1:51.45) and 500 free (4:33.78), a time faster than any swam by any Gamecock last season. He also picked up a second-place finish in the 200 IM (1:54.04). Ross got his first win in the 1,000 free with a time of 9:32.58, and finished third in the 500 (4:42.19).

Sophomore James Crawford, coming off a strong summer, pulled away early and never looked back in the 200 backstroke, touching in 1:50.77 to win by more than two seconds. He was second in the 100 freestyle in 1:40.35. Junior Dominique Lendjel made his return to the pool after missing the entire 2008-09 season with injury, winning the 100 backstroke in 51.37. He would also finished runner-up in the 100 fly (50.06).

The Gamecocks put the meet out of reach with a 1-2-4 finish in the 200 IM, with freshman Collin Kaden taking top honors in 1:53.29. Flach was second, followed by Andrew Atzhorn in fourth place (1:54.36).

In the diving well, Carolina got wins in all four events, with junior Taryn Zack continuing her dominance on the 1-meter board. She turned in a score of 312.30 to outpace teammate Courtney Forcucci (291.08), making her first appearance as a Gamecock. Forcucci would win the 3-meter event with a score of 315.90 with Zack third (302.10). For the Carolina men, Ridenour dominated the 3-meter board in his first collegiate meet, scoring 343.65 to outpace his nearest competitor by 52 points. He would finish second in the 1-meter to teammate Ryan Kuser, who turned in a score of 281.70.

Zack, Forcucci, and Ridenour all turned in scores to qualify for NCAA Zone competition, as did junior Allison Barr with a score of 283.20 in 1-meter.

For the Gamecock women, junior twins Claire and Christine Thompson swept the top spots in the mid-distance and distance events. Claire took first in the 200 (1:50.85), 500 (4:58.33) and 1,000 (10:08.49) with Christine second in all three events. Junior Megan Sparks got a win in the 200-yard backstroke, touching in 2:01.29, and she finished third in both the 100 back (57.39) and 200 IM (2:07.52). Freshman Haley Staubach had a strong showing in her initial collegiate event, earning second-place points in the 100 back (57.28) and 100 fly (57.14) and fifth place in the 200 back (2:03.96).

Sophomore Lydia Hackert earned her first career win with a 2:23.07 in the 200 breaststroke; she would finish fourth in the 100 breast (1:07.62).

It marks the first men's SEC meet victory for South Carolina under McGee Moody and his staff. The last Gamecock men's victory in a conference dual meet came on Oct. 27, 2006, also against Kentucky. Coincidentally, Don Gibb – now an assistant coach for the Wildcats – was the Gamecocks' head coach at the time.

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