South Carolina's swimming and diving team kicked off the second half of their season in style on Saturday at the College of Charleston, heading home with a pair of dual meet victories over the Cougars at the Stern Center Natatorium. The Gamecock men won 131-89 while the Carolina women took their first win of the season by a 124-90 count.
The teams swam a shortened, 13-event program as the Gamecocks (2-4 men, 1-5 women) just wrapped up an intensive training session during the holiday break, and the Cougars were coming off a dual meet two nights ago at Florida A&M. In addition, South
Carolina swam in a 25-meter pool for the first time this season as opposed to the usual 25-yard length that is standard for NCAA competition. The format seemed to suit South Carolina, however, as the Gamecocks took victories in 10 of 13 event on both the men's
and women's sides.
South Carolina's international athletes - who typically compete in a 25- or 50-meter setting overseas - shined throughout the meet. Freshman Bobby Cave, a native of England, got wins in two of his events with a first-place time of 4:13.55 in the 400-meter freestyle and a strong breaststroke leg in helping the 400 medley relay team of James Crawford, himself, Dominique Lendjel and Andrew Seiler to a win in 3:57.16. Cave also finished third in the 200-meter freestyle with a 1:59.85.
Lendjel, another international athlete from Germany, took first place in the 50-meter freestyle with a 24.49. He also figured strongly in the 400 MR win and swam on the second-place 400 free relay team as well. Senior Andy Atzhorn picked up a pair of wins in the 200 IM (2:09.55) and the 200 breast (2:32.67) as well. Additional swimming victories came from Matt Columbus in the 800 free (8:35.20), Dan Jackson in the 200 butterfly (2:09.87), Michael Flach in the 200 back (2:06.90), and the 400 free relay team of Seiler, Flach, Brett Sexton and Jackson (3:35.98).
On the women's side, freshman Meghan Brockington, a native of Canada, took top honors in the 400-meter freestyle with a 4:31.13. She also swam the anchor leg of the 400 free relay that, along with Logan Griffith, Bridget Halligan and Lauren Plowman, took the top spot with a time of 4:05.02. Fellow freshman Jordan Gibbs also picked up a pair of individual wins in the 200 free (2:10.49) and 200 breast (2:44.77). The 400 medley relay team of Haley Staubach, Aileen Atzhorn, Sharntelle McLean and Bridget Halligan kicked things off with a big win, touching in 4:32.60. The women's team would also get victories from Whitney Avers in the 800-meter freestyle (9:07.83), Alyssa Hand in the 200 IM (2:28.93), Kristina Delp in the 100 free (1:00.20) and Staubach in the 200 back (2:20.43).
In the diving well, the Gamecock women swept the top three spots in the 1-meter event with Allison Barr taking the top spot with a 277.28. Helen Alvey was second with 219.53, and Sarah Deuell took third with a 213.45. For the men, Nikolas Sachs took top honors with a score of 300.53 with Ryan Kuser scoring 283.35 to finish second.
South Carolina will return home for its next two meets, beginning with a showdown with the Duke Blue Devils next Saturday, Jan. 16. The meet is slated for a 2 p.m. start at the Carolina Natatorium.