Jan. 26, 2008
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The Auburn swimming and diving teams combined for five NCAA automatic qualifying times, 27 provisional times and 17 Olympic Trials qualifying times Saturday as the Tigers split in dual meet action with SEC rival Florida.
Auburn's women, currently ranked No. 1 in the CSCAA Top-25 poll, posted seven wins in the meet, but came up short in the end as the Tigers fell to seventh-ranked Florida, 165-135. Auburn's sixth-ranked men tallied 10 wins in the 165-135 win over the No. 5 Gators.
The win for the men extends its winning streak over UF to nine while the loss for the women ends an 11-meet winning streak.
A unique situation in Saturday's meet was competing in long course meters, as opposed to the normal short course yards. Instead of swimming in a 25-yard pool, the course was lengthened to a 50-meter pool. With 2008 being an Olympic year, the opportunity to swim in long course meters allows the swimmers to qualify for Olympic Trials and national teams.
Head coach Richard Quick was very pleased with his team's performance on Saturday, taking the win off Florida on their home turf.
"It was a really important win for our men's team," said Quick. "My theme has been to keep growing and keep improving and that happened in this meet. I think it is significant that we beat them long course because they are built for long course swimming a little bit better than we are. But, we still stepped up and got the job done, so I am real pleased where we are with the men."
For the women's team, even with the loss now on their record, co-head coach Dorsey Tierney-Walker said that there are a lot of positives to take from the meet.
"I think we took things for granted at the beginning of the meet and Florida really competed well today, I take my hat off to them," said Tierney-Walker. "I think we got better throughout the meet, showed some areas that we need to work on quite a bit, so all in all I think we are going to take something positive out of this."
Another positive she is taking from the meet is the performance of freshman Caitlin Geary
. The Orlando, Fla. native won the 50 free, 100 free and 200 free. She earned Olympic Trial cuts in all three events, an "A" cut in the 200 free and "B" cuts in the 50 free and 100 free.
"We had some real good swims by Caitlin Geary, she got two Olympic Trial cuts that she didn't have, so we are real proud to see her get up and take care of business there," said Tierney-Walker.
The men also had a freshman step up in some crucial spots as Kohlton Norys won the 100 back, capturing a NCAA automatic cut and an Olympic Trial cut. He also picked up a "B" cut and a Trials cut in the 200 back, finishing runner-up.
"Kohlton Norys took a big step today, winning the 100 back was an awesome performance as well as qualifying for the NCAAs," said Quick. "Then he raced tough in the 200 back. Some of our other freshmen did really well for us, Adam Klein raced tough in the 200 breast, Robert Looney swam real well in the 1500 and Andrew Mitchell had a good meet. They are starting to grow up and that is what you hope for out of your freshmen."
Also performing well for the men was junior Cesar Cielo. The reigning NCAA Swimmer of the Year won the 50 and 100 free, earning an "A" cut time in the 100.
Auburn returns to dual meet action on Feb. 9 at home against Florida State and Arkansas' women. Some Tiger swimmers will return to the pool Feb. 1-3 for the Ralph Crocker Classic at the James E. Martin Aquatics Center in Auburn, Ala.
In the opening event for the women, Florida took the top spot for an early lead as Auburn finished second. The team of Melissa Marik, Abby MacGregor, Alana Dillette and Kara Denby touched in with a time of 1:58.29.
Three Tigers finished with "B" cut times in the 1500 freestyle, led by freshman Micah Martindale in second place with a time of 16:59.69. Maggie Bird followed in fourth (17:15.86) with Julie Golden right on her heels in fifth (17:16.45).
Geary kept the freshman success going in the 200 free, giving Auburn its first win with a NCAA automatic qualifying time of 2:01.94. Ava Ohlgren followed in fourth with a "B" cut 2:05.16.
In the 100 back, Auburn took fourth through seventh, led by Marik with a "B" cut 1:05.56. MacGregor followed up with AU's second win of the meet, taking first in the 100 breast with a NCAA automatic qualifying time of 1:10.86.
Emily Kukors picked up her first win of the day, taking the top spot in the 200 fly with an "A" cut 2:14.60.
Auburn closed the gap in the 50 free with Geary, Denby and Ewing finishing first, second and fourth. Geary led with a "B" cut 26.39 while Denby finished just one hundredth of a second behind at 26.40.
Geary followed with her third win of the day, taking first in the 100 free with a NCAA Provisional time of 56.99. Denby followed in second with a time of 57.80.
In the 200 back, Auburn took third through sixth place, led by Julianne McLane with a "B" cut time of 2:19.53. Meissner also finished with a NCAA provisional time, taking fourth with a time of 2:20.03.
The Tigers went 1-2 in the 200 breast to make up some ground. MacGregor finished first with a "B" cut 2:34.45. Josefin Wede followed in second with a time of 2:38.54.
Kukors led a pack of three Tigers in the top five of the 400 free, taking second with a time of 4:20.01. Martindale followed in fourth with a 4:24.52 while Bird came in fifth at 4:24.72.
Ohlgren led Auburn to a 1-2 finish in the 100 fly, finishing with the win at 1:03.37. McCawley followed in second with a time of 1:03.38.
Kukors came back out to lead Auburn to a second-place finish in the 200 IM with a "B" cut 2:18.98. Ohlgren followed in fourth with a time of 2:20.37. By taking first and third in the event, Florida put victory out of reach for Auburn, handing the Tigers their first loss of the season.
Auburn did not give up, though, and finished second and third in the meet-ending 200 free relay with both teams earning NCAA provisional times. The team of Marik, Ewing, Kukors and Ohlgren led the way in second with a time of 1:46.59, followed by the team of Denby, Dillette, Wede and McCawley (1:47.41).
In the women's diving events, it was Auburn's Courtney Brown leading the way with fourth-place finishes in both events. Brown posted a 188.11 on the 1-meter and a 198.98 on the 3-meter.
"The girls did a good job today, they are just basically pretty inexperienced," said head diving coach Jeff Shaffer. "Courtney tried a new dive today, that was successful and she continues to work hard."
For newcomer Jessica Froning, Saturday's meet at Florida was her first of the season.
"This was her first collegiate meet, so she still has a long way to go in learning more difficult dives," said Shaffer. "I was pleased with how they competed. We have a good opportunity to take what we saw here and correct some errors we made and be ready for conference."
On the men's side, the Tigers took an early lead after going 1-2 in the 200 medley relay. The Auburn team of Pascal Wollach, Jon Hiett, Jakob Andkjaer and Alexei Puninski finished first with a "B" cut time of 1:43.84. The team of Scott Goodrich, Michael Silva, Tyler McGill and Cesar Cielo followed right behind in second with a time of 1:44.24.
Freshman Robert Looney led the Tigers in the 1500 free, touching in with a "B" cut time of 15:51.52.
Andkjaer picked up his second win of the day in the 200 free, taking first with a "B" cut time of 1:51.82. Will Dove followed in third with a 1:54.18.
Freshman Kohlton Norys earned his first win of the day in the 100 back, coming in with an "A" cut 56.21. Wollach followed in second with a "B" cut time of 56.95.
Michael Silva followed with another Auburn win in the 100 breast, coming in a 1:04.48 - one hundredth of a second below the NCAA provisional mark. McGill led the Tigers in the 200 fly, taking third with a time of 2:05.16.
Swimming the event that he holds the NCAA record in for the first time this season, Cielo led all swimmers to win the 50 free with an "A" cut 22.71. Puninski followed in third with a time of 23.70.
Cielo then earned his second win of the day, taking top honors in the 100 free as he touched in a 51.30. Andkjaer followed with a runner-up finish with a time of 52.30.
Norys again led Auburn in the backstroke, taking second in the 200 back with a "B" cut time of 2:03.37.
In the 200 breast, it was another freshman stepping up as Adam Klein finished second to lead Auburn with a time of 2:22.12.
Dove led the way for Auburn in the 400 free, taking runner-up honors with a time of 4:02.88. McGill followed with a win in the 100 fly, leading Auburn to a 1-2 finish with a "B" cut time of 54.74. Puninski trailed in second with a time of 55.94.
Andrew Mitchell led Auburn with a fourth-place finish in the 200 IM, coming in at 2:09.86. But, with the points from Mitchell and McGill, who finished sixth, the Tigers were able to seal the victory over Florida.
Auburn did not let down in the final event, as the team of Andkjaer, Goodrich, Puninski and Cielo took the win in the 200 free relay with a "B" cut time of 1:32.76
In the men's diving events, not only did Auburn come up with the sweep in both events, but Kelly Marx came away with a sweep for himself. Marx took the top spot on the 1-meter with a zone-qualifying 317.25, followed by Dan Mazzaferro in second (277.58) and Scott Morgan in third (262.43).
On the three meter, it was Marx again on top with a 348.38, followed by Mazzaferro in second (340.28) and Morgan in third (326.93). Although he did not score, Caleb Dunnichay was right behind his teammates with a 285.45 and a fourth-place finish.
"Kelly has been training probably the most consistent of all four of our men divers," said Shaffer. "Everyone else did pretty well today and I thought overall, we palced where we needed to to contribute to the team."