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    Friday SEC Swimming & Diving Report

    BATON ROUGE, La.—The LSU Women’s Swimming and Diving team opened up the two-day quad meet with leads over Houston, Rice and Tulane in the LSU Natatorium on Friday evening.
    “I think we came out of the gate really well with a win in the 200 medley relay,” Swimming Coach Dave Geyer said. “With individual performances we are starting to see that front end speed, which is exciting heading into the postseason. We are getting after our races. We’ll come back tomorrow and race well. Overall from top to bottom, I think we set the mood to win and go 1-2-3 in some events, and set the table to pull off three dual meet victories.”
    The 400 medley relay team of freshman Caley Oquist, freshman Taryn MacKenzie, sophomore Amber Carter and junior Rainey White set the tone early after winning the event with a time of 1:42.78.
    LSU took 1-2-3-4 in the 100 backstroke. Freshman Danielle Stirrat picked up a victory in the 100 backstroke with a time of 56.66. Junior Kyra Jones swam her career low with a second place swim and a time of 57.15. Sophomores Katlin Sepp and Jennifer Reese finished third and fourth, respectively.
    The Lady Tigers also finished 1-2-3 in the 200 individual medley. Junior Torrey Bussey captured the event with a time of 2:03.29. Senior Sally Wood clocked in behind Bussey with a mark of 2:04.55. Freshman Megan Cox took third.
    Cox also touched the wall first in the 200 free with a mark of 1:51.00.
    Carter went on to post a pair of individual victories in the 100 butterfly (55.11) and the 50 free (23.48). Both of her marks were close to her midseason invitational times.
    Sophomore diver Alex Bettridge captured the three-meter title with her season best score of 325.70. Senior Elle Schmidt notched her career best and narrowly missed the 300-point barrier with a score of 299.55.
    “We had good performances,” Diving Coach Doug Shaffer said. “The highlight was Alex stepping up on the three-meter and giving her best performance of the year. She has increased her difficulty, so to see those dives come through is right where we need to be going into the Southeastern Conference Championships. This will surely boost her confidence.”

    Ridenour Breaks Three-Meter Record; Gamecocks Open Strong In Final Home Meet

    COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina senior diver Rylan Ridenour broke his own school record on the men’s three-meter springboard with a score of 446.95 on Friday to help the Gamecock swimming and diving teams build sizable leads over College of Charleston, Queens and Wingate in the first session of a two-day meet at the Carolina Natatorium.

    Fittingly enough, Ridenour accomplished the feat on Senior Day and did so almost a year to the day that he set the old mark of 427.43 (Jan. 27, 2012). In the pool, the Gamecocks were just as strong as they put forth one of their best efforts of the season, winning eight events. Overall, South Carolina placed first in 12 of the 20 events contested on Friday and swept the top three spots in six events.

    Heading into Saturday’s session, the Gamecock men hold leads over Wingate (156-24), Queens (126-54) and College of Charleston (163-17). On the women’s side, South Carolina has a 156-28 advantage over the Bulldogs, a 153-27 lead on the Royals and a 161-19 cushion against College of Charleston.

    South Carolina head coach McGee Moody couldn’t have been more proud of his team’s effort on a day that 13 seniors were honored prior to the meet.

    “I am pretty happy with where we are,” Moody said. “We needed to be sharp. We were not as sharp as we could be last week but we were much, much better tonight. We are starting to see people have a little pop at the end of our races, which is good. We had some people that did swim really well tonight. Ellen Johnson, one of our freshmen, is going to be something to watch over the next couple of years. She’s got a lot of talent and had a really good night tonight. I am proud of where we are.”

    With Ridenour leading the way, the Gamecock diving corps swept the top three spots on every board. Ridenour’s record-setting performance topped the men’s three-meter competition, while sophomore Cole Miller (399.65) and junior Andrew Helmich (345.80) both set career bests to finish second and third, respectively. Ridenour also won the one-meter board with a PR of 395.90, followed by Miller with a PR of 370.65 and Helmich with a PR of 308.45. On the women’s boards, sophomore Patricia Kranz won both the one-meter (340.50) and three-meter (365.15). Senior Chay Malvasio placed second on the one-meter (302.10) and third on the three-meter (323.55), while freshman Lauren Lamendola took second on the three-meter (337.25 PR) and third on the one-meter (281.50).

    “I think the team did really well and made a lot of adjustments from last week,” South Carolina head diving coach Todd Sherritt said. “The errors that were made last week were the areas they were weak in. Everybody this entire week made changes, and it showed up today. Rylan breaking the record, what can you say? The record wasn’t easy to break, but he pulled that gainer 3 ½ tuck, which is what he’s been working on for a while. When he hit that, it shot his score way up. Everybody had a really good day today, and I’m very happy with that.”

    The Gamecocks made a statement early in the pool by sweeping the 200 freestyle relay. The Carolina women’s team of Taylor Josserand, Rachel Elliott, Lauren Raczkowski and Casey Papp turned in the second fastest time of the season (1:35.99) to win the event, while the men’s team of Michael Flach, Michael Covert, Jay Warner and Alex Fitton also posted the second fastest time of the season (1:22.93) to claim first.

    Junior Gerard Rodriguez added to South Carolina’s early success as he swam to a first-place finish in the men’s 200 IM with a time of 1:53.42. Senior Whitney Avers followed Rodriguez’s performance with a strong effort of her own in the 500 freestyle, claiming first with a season best time of 5:01.59.

    Freshman Ellen Johnson then earned the first win of her career with a first-place showing in the 100 breaststroke with a PR of 1:02.75.

    Fitton swam a 45.95 in the men’s 100 freestyle to earn his fourth win of the season. South Carolina’s final individual win came in the women’s 200 butterfly, as senior Meghan Brockington touched the wall first in 2:05.69.

    The Gamecock women’s 400 medley relay team of Matea Peteh, Amanda Rutqvist, Papp and Rachael Schaffer recorded the final win of the night for Carolina as it won by nearly four seconds with a time of 3:49.79.