2009 South Carolina Gamecocks Men's Swimming and Diving
The South Carolina men's swimming and diving program does not have nearly the long track record of success that a number of its Southeastern Conference counterparts do, in fact, possess. However, the program also does not have nearly the track record of any kind as it is one of the newest programs to join the SEC. The program only became officially aligned with the Southeastern Conference in 1992. And while over that stretch the team has had some highs and some lows, generally speaking it would be safe to say the team has had some difficulty finding its footing within the conference.
In its debut appearance in the SEC Championships in 1992, the Carolina men's swimming and diving team actually managed a solid initial showing, finishing in 5th place with 451 points. Many wondered if this could be the latest example of a team joining the conference when it was already sufficiently built and ready to compete. However, this first season proved to be a high water mark of sorts, as the Gamecocks were not able to advance from that point. The team fell to 8th of 9 in 1993, 6th in 1994, 7th in 1995, and then to the basement, 9th, in 1996.
From that point on, the Carolina men's swimming and diving team has continued to struggle. The team has been unable to finish higher than 6th in any season, and has finished in 7th place or lower 11 times since 1997. The team finished in last place in the SEC conference on 7 of those occasions.
It is going to be a long road to travel for South Carolina's men's program to make it to competitiveness. Can it get there? It remains to be seen. It's still a relatively new program, so that benefit it will get. But it is very close to establishing itself as the perennial conference doormat, and even a 5th place finish sometime soon would benefit its reputation greatly.
2009 South Carolina Gamecocks Women's Swimming and Diving
The South Carolina women's swimming and diving team is one of the newer kids on the block when it comes to Southeastern Conference competition. The team only began competing as part of Southeastern Conference play back in 1992, a full 11 seasons after the conference began competing in swimming and diving. And this late start may be a key factor as to why the program has, to date, been unable to get off the ground and establish itself as a force of note within the SEC.
The team performed surprisingly well in 1992, its first year as part of the Southeastern Conference. While an overall finish of 6th place at the SEC Championships is unspectacular, for a first year competitor, it is more than respectable. However, the team was unable to progress from that point, and if anything, slipped backwards. The team had a 7th place showing at the 1993 SEC Championships, and an 8th place finish in 1994.8th place became home to the South Carolina women's swimming and diving teams, unfortunately, as the team finished in that spot, ahead of exactly one other team, for 7 consecutive seasons following.
The team finally broke out of that rut in 2002, when it earned a 6th place showing at the SEC Championships, a finish that was duplicated in 2003. And when the team posted back to back 5th place finishes in 2005 and 2006, many began to feel that this team had finally turned a corner in the conference. Since then, the team has fallen back a bit, most recently posting a 9th place finish in 2008. It remains to be seen whether this is a blip in the program's development, or a return to where the team was before.
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