The University of South Carolina women’s swimming and diving team bounced back from a tough loss the previous week to beat Vanderbilt easily. The Commodores played host at the Centennial Sportsplex, and did manage a few individual highlights on the day.
South Carolina won nine out of fourteen races on their way to a final score of 165-97. Diving was not contested at the meet. This meant that the meet was a normal sixteen event program with the two diving boards subtracted. Vanderbilt’s squad is swimming only owing to facility limitations.
The Gamecocks had three double event winners on the day. Heather Merritt took both the 100 and 200 backstroke, beating out a teammate in each case. Sarah Smith went unchallenged in both the 1000 and 500 freestyle. On the other end of the spectrum, Meredith Vay won the sprint double (50 and 100 freestyle). Vay also swam on both winning relays.
Despite the win, the times by South Carolina were sluggish and probably indicative of heavy training. The Gamecocks were well off of their season bests in nearly every race. Emma Barksdale was their only other individual winner in the 200 IM.
Vanderbilt’s unquestionable star was breaststroker Kara Lucenti. She ran away with both the 100 and 200 breaststroke. In the 200, her margin of victory was over three seconds. The sophomore is having making a nice progression for the Commodores. They will look to her to get some individual points at this year’s SEC Championship.
Summer Brown was another highlight for Vanderbilt. She swam a perfectly paced 200 freestyle to just edge out South Carolina’s Taylor Worrell. Likewise Breanna Sapienza used better tactics to pull away from her Gamecock competitor in the 200 butterfly and notch a win.