Closing the Fall In Columbia

Vanderbilt wraps up first semester with Gamecock Invitational

by Camille Liska

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Vanderbilt swimming travels to Columbia, South Carolina, for the last scheduled competition of the fall season when the Commodores take part in the Gamecock Invitational.

Vandy will face host South Carolina, Florida Gulf Coast, Gardner-Webb, Georgia Southern, UNC-Wilmington, and North Florida in a three-day meet starting on Wednesday and continuing through Friday at the Carolina Natatorium. Each day the preliminary events will begin at 9 a.m. CT, and the finals will start at 6 p.m.

“There is not much difference in the preparation for a meet like this, it’s more about the process of how to manage a three-day event that mimics somewhat what the SEC Championships will be,” said head coach Jeremy Organ. “We need to keep our mindset on competing day after day after day and focus on all the little details that go into that to be able to have good performances every day.”

Vandy—now 4-3 on the current season—last competed Nov. 5 against Richmond and Queens in a two-day tri-meet at the Levine Aquatic Center. The Dores earned a split, defeating Richmond  172.5-142.5 while falling to host Queens, 181-134.

The Dores’ had multiple event victories, with Kailia Utley winning twice and Ellie Taliaferro, Maddie Smith, and Emma Dalton all finishing the fastest in their respective races to aid Vanderbilt in its victory over the Spiders. Taliaferro’s performances in the 100 freestyle and 200 individual medley were both new career-best times, and she now holds the eighth-fastest mark in the program’s history in the latter event.

Additionally, Gabriela Pierobon Mays, Karsyn Cook, Alina Stout, Taylor Carey, and Ryen Bosuro posted top-three marks in their respective races.

This will be Vanderbilt’s first time taking part in a meet of this size since the TYR ‘85 Invite in November 2019, where the Dores finished third out of the nine competing programs.

“I think this meet will give us a good window into where we are at as a group at this point of the season, which is still only the halfway mark,” Organ said. “This is kind of like a mid-term exam, if you will, and so we should be able to see what we are doing well and what do we need to improve on. It should give us really good markers of what to focus on for the second half of the season.”