Courtesy: South Carolina Athletics
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina swimming and diving team will begin its 2019-20 campaign Friday as the Gamecocks host Tennessee at the Carolina Natatorium/Blatt PE Center. The first diving session is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. with swimming event slated for a 10 a.m. start.
In preparation for the 2020 Olympics, both teams have agreed to deviate from the normal college short course length to the Olympic standard long course program.
This meet will also be the annual breast cancer awareness meet for the Gamecocks. During the meet, the team will wear special edition pink swim caps to honor those who have faced breast cancer. Fans will have a chance to purchase their own pink caps online following the meet.
SCOUTING THE VOLUNTEERS
South Carolina matches up against the Tennessee for the first time since 2017, when the Volunteers knocked off the Gamecocks 160-102 on the men’s side and 155-143 on the women’s.
Tennessee comes to Columbia after a successful 2018-19 season that saw the Volunteers notch two top-12 results at NCAAs with the men finishing 11th and the women at eighth. Tennessee finished third at the 2019 SEC championships.
TOP GAMECOCK RETURNERS
The Gamecocks return All-American and SEC Champion Itay Goldfaden. The senior took home the SEC title in the 100 breaststroke with the second-fastest time in program history at 51.72.
South Carolina also returns sophomore diver Anton Down-Jenkins who qualified for NCAAs in the 1-meter and 3-meter competitions as a true freshman. Down-Jenkins garnered All-America honors in the 3-meter dive, finishing 13th with a 12-dive score of 689.45.
NCAA qualifier senior Lionel Khoo, who competed in both the 100 and 200 breaststroke, is also back for the Gamecocks.
On the women’s side, South Carolina returns two-time All-America senior Albury Higgs, who earned the honors in the 200 breaststroke in back-to-back years.
In addition to Higgs, the Gamecocks return seniors Emily Cornell, Christina Lappin, Edith Lingmann and sophomore Hallie Kinsey, all who swam at NCAAs in 2019. Lappin returns after setting three individual school records (50 free, 100 free & 100 butterfly) and three relay records (200 FR, 400 FR & 200 MR) last season.
TOP GAMECOCK NEWCOMERS
The Gamecocks added sophomore transfer Lewis Burras, a sprint freestyler from Virginia. Over the summer, he took home the B-Final title of the 100m free at U.S. Nationals with the fifth-fastest performance in British history.
For the women, the Gamecocks added Taylor Steele, one of the fastest freshman breaststrokers in the country, with a career best of 1:01.73 in the 100 breast.
QUOTEABLE: HEAD SWIMMING COACH MCGEE MOODY
“We’ve ramped up the intensity and our volume in our training in the pool, and we’re starting to turn our mindset towards racing this fall.”
QUOTEABLE: HEAD DIVING COACH TODD SHERRITT
“Looking forward to this season. We have some returning talent that should improve their finishes this year. We also have an additional diver from Sweden, Mathilda Roxne, who will add some depth to our women’s diving team.
“Our men’s diving team is very strong with returning All American Anton Down-Jenkins. His 13th place finish at NCAA as a freshman was an incredible feat. Grant Summers had a great training session over the summer, and he is diving great right now. Alex Claus did a great job last year and has had outstanding improvement. His tower event will be strong this year. Overall this is a great team, and they all work hard. I’m looking forward to some great results this year.”