Swimming: Vanderbilt takes third at Gamecock Invitational

In Vanderbilt’s final competition of the fall, Kailia Utley and Ellie Taliaferro won their individual races.

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Vanderbilt Athletics

Vanderbilt swimming placed third at the Gamecock Invitational on Nov. 18. (Vanderbilt Athletics)

Andrew Wilf, Deputy Sports Editor

Vanderbilt swimming concluded their fall season at the Gamecock Invitational in Columbia, South Carolina on Nov. 18. The Commodores finished in third place in the seven-team tournament with a three-day total score of 629 points.

The Commodores started the tournament strong, placing third in the 200-yard medley relay that featured Ellie Taliaferro, Megan Ciezczak, Gabriela Pierobon Mays and Chantal Jordan. At the meet, Taliaferro had an impressive 2 minute, 2.70-second mark in the 200-yard individual medley, which was good enough to set a new freshman record for Vanderbilt. The rest of the day would be much of the same for the Commodores as they continued to generate success across the board. Vanderbilt entered day two of the tournament in third place.

“I’m really, really happy for our team tonight, it was an exciting night of racing for everybody,” head coach Jeremy Organ said. “It started off with our 200 freestyle relay setting the tone for the night by providing an initial spark of energy.” 

On the second day of action, Taliaferro broke records once again. The Tennessee native posted a remarkable time of 1:50.14 in the 200-yard freestyle. The score was her personal best and the fifth-best score in Vanderbilt history. One of Taliaferro’s teammates that also dominated on day two was Faith Knelson. The junior finished first in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:1.61. Kailia Utley also brought home a first-place finish, thanks to a time of 56.55 seconds in the 100-yard backstroke B Final.

The Commodores kept their foot on the gas on the last day of the tournament. Utley captured her second victory of the meet, finishing first in the 200-yard butterfly B Final (2:03.61). Vanderbilt also captured victories in the C and D final of the 200-yard butterfly event, thanks to spectacular individual showings from Alixandra Roy (2:07.88) and Kendall Hall (2:10.32).

“I’m really pleased with how our team supported each other over the three days,” Organ said. “We had some really great performances both on the individual side and also on our relays. We will now focus on putting in some really good work over the holidays to set us up for success in the next phase of the season.” 

The Commodores will enjoy an offseason of nearly two months and return to action on Jan. 21 when they travel to Iowa City, Iowa to battle the Hawkeyes.