For the last meet of their regular season, the South Carolina Gamecocks hosted a quad meet between the University of North Carolina Wilmington Seahawks and Division II’s Queens University of Charlotte Royals and the Wingate University Bulldogs this Friday and Saturday in Columbia, SC. The first portion of their quad meet was held this afternoon with the remainder of the quad meet’s events scheduled for Saturday morning. South Carolina exercised full control of the quad, claiming six out of eight events, but the defending NCAA Division II Champions from Queens placed several athletes in the top tiers to challenge their Division I host.
The Gamecocks jumped to an early lead in the 200 free relay by taking first and second over their visitors. The A relay of Meredith Vay, Mckenna Keith, Taylor Vincent, and Caroline Petrone split a trio of 23’s for their final time of 1:35.17 while the Queens’ relay finished just a fingernail behind South Carolina’s B relay at 1:36.34 to 1:36.29.
Emma Barksdale of South Carolina hit the wall first in the 200 IM at 2:03.65 and bested 2015 Bluegrass Mountain Conference 200 IM champion Caroline Arakelian’s time of 2:04.64. Wingate swimmer Sofia Petrenko clocked a 2:05.09 for third place over two additional Gamecocks participating in that race. With the lone distance event of the day’s session, South Carolina swept the 500 free starting with Maggie Harman’s 4:54.29 and ending with fourth place finisher Ashleigh Ferguson’s 5:04.01. Nikki Johnston’s 5:06.02 was the first of three Queens touches with Marissa Martinez of UNCW finishing her race at 5:14.86 for ninth place.
The Division II teams even split the 100 breast top eight with South Carolina. Brittney Phelan of Queens hooked first in 1:05.45 over Gamecock Kersten Dirrane at 1:05.46 and Bulldog Jessika Weiss at 1:05.65. UNCW swimmers Karen Woodsworth and Emily Etgen finished just outside the top eight at 1:08.01 and 1:08.03.
In the 200 back, Arakelian (2:00.83) and Amanda Tipton finished well under the NCAA Division II ‘B’ cut to gain Queens their first one-two finish of the day against South Carolina’s Paige Maynard at 2:03.16. The Gamecocks absolutely swept the women’s 100 free. Harman’s touch of 51.65 was the first of six South Carolina swimmers in the sprint with Kyrie Dobson of Queens interrupting their sweep with a second place touch of 52.03. Armony Dumur of Wingate and Viv Louviere of UNCW wrapped up the fastest eight with their corresponding times of 53.67 and 53.83.
Katie O’Brien snagged the last win of the day for the Gamecocks by finishing the 200 fly in 2:00.95 with Petrenko claiming second for the Bulldogs at 2:03.46 and Queens’ Hannah Peiffer at 2:03.92. The Royals then amassed Peiffer, Shelly Prayson, McKenzie Stevens, and Dobson to win the 400 medley relay over Wingate’s 3:50.57 and South Carolina’s 3:52.96. UNCW’s relay fell to 8th as several B and C relays finished ahead of their time of 4:08.24.
The Royals from Charlotte edged South Carolina’s relay for first place in their 200 free relay race. The Division II powerhouse assembled Dion Dreesens, Ben Taylor, Zach Phelps, and Ben Mayes for the fastest relay at 1:23.10 as compared to South Carolina’s 1:23.52 and third place finisher Wingate at 1:25.92.
Not to be outclassed in the own pool, South Carolina swimmers Kevin Leithold (1:50.51), Evan Freed (1:52.28), Fynn Minuth (1:53.21), and Jeremiah Bohon (1:53.45) cleared the 200 IM’s top four placements. Leif-Henning Kluever from Wingate was next in line at 1:55.65 while UNCW’s Will Ryan (1:56.25) and Tad Spence (1:58.00) made an appearance for scoring points. The Gamecocks captured the 500 free with another one-two finish with SC’s record holder Akaram Mahmound at 4:25.03 and Cody Bekemeyer at 4:25.29. Nick Arakelian, the 2015 NCAA Division II champion in this event, slid into third at 4:29.36 as Wingate’s Ossian Arvidsson (4:41.05) and UNCW’s Thompson Schille (4:42.57) wrapped up the top eight.
Outside of Nils Wich-Glasen’s touch of 55.38 in the 100 breast, which was .01 under the NCAA Division I ‘B’ cut, this event belong to the visiting teams. Rost Fedyna (56.38) and Devin Hughes (57.16) accumulated points for Queens with Ryan at 58.56 as the sole UNCW scorer in the race. Wingate senior Roman Kanyuka (56.93) finished in fourth as teammate Nathan Kimbel (58.71) closed out the 100 breast for eighth place.
Jonathan Boland scored another event title for the host team in the 100 free at 45.44, but it was Mayes of Queens who finished in 45.80 to prevent another podium takeover for the Gamecocks. Minuth sealed the last individual event of the day with his winning 200 fly time of 1:51.63. South Carolina swimmers Boland, Wich-Glasen, Keithold, and Tom Peribonio pieced together the fastest 400 medley relay in 3:19.29 over Queens’ A relay in 3:21.01. Wingate’s A relay landed at fourth in 3:26.18 and hard pressed for a higher finish, the UNCW men settled for seventh at 3:32.03.