South Carolina’s Pantano, Laitarovsky Set 100 Back Records On Day 2 of Gamecock Invite


After winning every event on the opening night, South Carolina continued to roll on Day 2 of the Gamecock Invite on Thursday, claiming 11 of 14 races on the program including setting a pair of school records in the 100 backstroke.

Sophomore Michael Laitarovsky, an Israeli native, annihilated the field in the men’s 100 back, clocking 45.92 to break his own South Carolina school record of 46.17 set at the 2022 SEC Championships. At that meet, Laitarovsky set a new program record in the heats before placing eighth in the final.

Laitarovsky also had an impressive showing on the Gamecocks’ 200 medley relay, leading off the men’s team with a 50 back split of 21.55 as they rolled to the win by nearly two seconds in 1:27.01. Laitarovsky was joined by Daniel West (24.45), Guy Gropper (21.48) and Patrick Groters (19.53).

West picked up an individual win of his own in the men’s 100 breast, clocking 54.85 to near his lifetime best of 54.78 and out-touch teammate Liam Kerns (54.86) by .01.

Groters completed the men’s medley sweep, following up his win in the 200 IM on Wednesday with the 400 IM title on Thursday, putting up a time of 3:48.04 to come within a second of his best from last season’s SECs (3:47.17).

On the women’s side, South Carolina junior Bella Pantano reset the school record on two occasions in the 100 back, first registering a time of 53.29 in the prelims before getting down to 53.26 in the final. Last season, Pantano set the program mark at 53.38, lowering the previous record stood of 53.47 set by Emily Cornell in 2020.

Pantano led a 1-2-3-4-5 sweep for the Gamecocks in that event, with freshmen Dylan Scholes (53.61) and Megan Maholic (53.71) rounding out the top three.

Joining Groters in finishing off a sweep of the IM events was South Carolina fifth-year Victoria Kwan, who followed up her 200 IM win with the 400 IM title in 4:11.75, nearly five seconds clear of the runner-up. Kwan, who previously competed at Michigan, owns a best of 4:09.51 from the 2022 Big Tens.

UNCW’s Jacob Duracinsky made some noise in the men’s 200 free, setting a new school record in the heats in 1:36.84 before winning the final in 1:37.65. The previous record belonged to Henderson Louviere, who went 1:37.07 at the 2022 CAA Championships.

Louviere added a win of his own in the 100 fly, clocking 47.92 to edge out South Carolina’s Gropper (48.40). Louviere owns a best time of 46.99.


  • South Carolina’s Nicholle Toh won the women’s 100 fly in 52.87, just shy of her best time (52.55) set at the 2022 SECs.
  • Janie Smith led a 1-2-3-4 sweep for the Gamecocks in the women’s 200 free, registering a time of 1:46.53 to top freshman teammate Amy Riordan (1:46.86). Both swimmers broke 1:47 for the first time.
  • Megan Maholic (25.04), Georgia Johnson (28.29), Toh (23.45) and Smith (21.92) teamed up to win the 200 medley relay in 1:38.70, leading a 1-2-3 sweep for South Carolina.
  • Canadian Faith Knelson earned Vanderbilt’s first win of the meet in the women’s 100 breast, touching in 1:01.61 to top South Carolina’s Johnson (1:02.06) and Taylor Steele (1:02.44). Knelson owns a best time of 1:00.60 from December 2020. Steele was notably significantly quicker, 1:01.70, in the prelims.
  • Names were not listed for South Carolina’s winning women’s 800 free relay, which clocked in at 7:11.26.
  • In the men’s 800 free relay, the Gamecocks won in 6:35.84, with the fastest split going to Erge Gezmis (1:38.04) on the lead-off leg.



  1. South Carolina, 1,229
  2. UNCW, 743
  3. Vanderbilt, 483
  4. FGCU, 400
  5. Georgia Southern, 209
  6. UNF, 192
  7. Gardner-Webb, 185


  1. South Carolina, 1,105
  2. UNCW, 853
  3. Gardner-Webb, 676

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About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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