The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Swimming: Commodores finish strong at Gamecock Invitational

Record-breaking efforts propelled Vanderbilt to second place in its last competition of the fall season.
Vanderbilt+competing+against+Florida+on+Sept.+29%2C+2023.+%28Hustler+Multimedia%2FOlivia+Noell%29
Olivia Noell
Vanderbilt competing against Florida on Sept. 29, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Olivia Noell)

Vanderbilt closed out its fall season at the Gamecock Invitational in Columbia, S.C., which ran from Nov. 15-17. The Commodores placed second in a field of eight teams, scoring 961.5 points over the course of the meet.

The relays made the biggest waves on Day One of the competition, with both A-teams finding the podium. The 200 freestyle relay squad of Abby Francis, Megan Ciezczak, Sophia Kosturos and Ellie Taliaferro led off strong by placing second in the event with a time of 1 minute, 31.87 seconds. The Commodores flexed their squad depth by finishing sixth with their B relay of Hannah Weissman, Alina Stout, Ryen Bosuro and Karsyn Cook — who came into the wall before four schools’ A-teams.

The 400 medley relay team of Faith Knelson, Kailia Utley, Kosturos and Taliaferro finished third with a time of 3:37.66. The swim blew the previous team record out of the water, trumping the previous time set at the 2014 SEC Championships by nearly three seconds.

The second day of the invitational was highlighted by Knelson’s performance in the 100-yard breaststroke. Knelson not only got the Commodores’ only victory on the day, but her time in the preliminary round of 1:01.26 qualified her for the NCAA B Championship.

Podium finishes in the 200 free by Taliaferro and the 200 medley relay by Kosturos, Knelson, Stout and Ciezczak helped keep Vanderbilt’s momentum rolling into the third and final day of the meet.

The final day of competition saw yet another historic performance by a Vanderbilt relay team when the 400 free squad made up of Abby Francis, Taliaferro, Kosturos and Ciezczak set a new team record by touching the wall in 3:21.65.

Other top-ten performances in Vanderbilt history by Mercedes Traba, Grace Ciaramitaro, Utley and Ciezczak helped the Commodores rake in enough points to solidify themselves as runners up in Columbia.

The Commodores will take a brief break from competition before diving back in on Jan. 2 in Coral Gables, Fla. to face the University of Miami and Iowa.

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About the Contributors
Vincent Xu
Vincent Xu, Sports Copy Editor
Vincent Xu (‘27) is planning on majoring in economics with a minor in data science in the College of Arts and Science. Outside of The Hustler, Vincent enjoys playing sports, watching sports, talking sports and a couple of other things that are sadly unrelated to sports. He can be reached at [email protected].
Olivia Noell
Olivia Noell, Staff Photographer
Olivia Noell (‘25) is from Anniston, Ala., and is majoring in neuroscience, medicine, health and society and gender and sexuality studies in the College of Arts and Science. She enjoys hammocking, spending time with friends and trying new restaurants around Nashville. You can reach her at [email protected].
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