Junior swimmer narrowly misses final round at NCAA Championship
South Carolina’s women’s swim team officially concluded its season as junior Amanda Rutqvist completed her performance at the NCAA Championship in Indianapolis.
Rutqvist was the only Gamecock representative at the women’s championships. Her time of 2:11.63 in the 200 breaststroke was 3.39 seconds short of qualifying for the final round.
“She performed well, but I know that she wanted more,” USC coach McGee Moody said.
Although Rutqvist did not surpass her time from the 2012 NCAA Championships in the 200 breaststroke, the junior from Sweden shaved a few ticks off the clock on her 100 breaststroke for a time of 1:01.01.
Moody said better coaching on his part might have improved Rutqvist’s overall time.
“She didn’t have enough gas to finish the race … From a training standpoint, that is on me as a coach,” he said. “I think it’s on me as a coach to make sure that she is better prepared to finish that race.”
Moody believes Rutqvist’s performance in the championship will motivate her throughout the offseason.
“She was not satisfied with where she was,” he said. “She wants to be an all-American every year, and she wants to be in that final of the 200 breaststroke. I think it makes her even hungrier now.”
Moody said Rutqvist only agreed to take a few days off before preparing for Swedish nationals in June and offseason training.
Moody feels the women’s team matured through the season. The team faced four highly ranked opponents to start off the season, each of which had at least one Olympian.
“This is one of the hardest women’s years that we have had here,” Moody said. “It was hard in that I put them in a position that they had never been in before. Mentally, it was such a struggle for them week after week having to face that caliber of team … It was almost unfair.”
Despite the rocky start, Moody was proud of how his team weathered the storm.
“I’m pleased with how they battled through it because they never gave up on things,” he said. “They did what we asked them to do when we asked them to do it.”
Several of the girls stood out to Moody this year. He pointed to Rutqvist and junior Rachael Schaffer as leaders on the team. Moody also applauded the strong improvement of freshman Caroline Bixler, who had “an outstanding meet” at the SEC Championship.
With those three athletes returning next year, Moody expects more confidence from the women next season.
“I think you are going to see a different women’s team this year in respect to how they are able to come through and win some meets,” he said. “This schedule this coming year is much more suited to what their strengths are. I think you’re going to see a much happier team (and) … a much more driven team.”