Feb. 4, 2007
LEXINGTON, Ky. -
Auburn senior Steven Segerlin completed a sweep of the men's diving events and senior Lynnsey Segraves finally earned a medal by placing second on the platform as Auburn's divers wrapped up a dominating performance at the SEC Swimming and Diving Championships in Lexington, Ky.
Auburn's six divers combined to make 16 of a possible 18 finals during the competition, and posted 12 top-five finishes including four victories in six events. Auburn had at least one medalist in all six events and scored a combined 261 points, which was more than double the second-highest total of 129.5 by LSU.
"That was probably one of the most dominant team performances in my career," said Auburn diving coach Jeff Shaffer. "To bring six athletes to one of the toughest conference meets in the nation and to do what we did, it's just a tremendous effort on all the athletes' parts. But as good as we were the last three days, we have a lot of work to do before the zone meet if we have any hope of doing anything close to this at the NCAA meet."
Segerlin won the men's platform to become just the third male diver in SEC history to win all three diving events at the same SEC championship meet, joining Georgia's Chris Colwill (2006) and Alabama's Mark Rourke (1991). He recorded a score of 452.80 to finish ahead of freshmen teammates Daniel Mazzaferro, who finished second with a career-best 396.60 points, and Kelly Marx, who was fifth with a score of 340.60.
Segerlin moved into first place after his second dive, then nailed a backwards 3.5 somersault on his third dive that received a score of 9.0 from six of the seven judges, helping him open a lead of over 50 points just mid-way through the competition. He cruised home from there, setting a new SEC and facility record while winning by more than 56 points over Mazzaferro.
"We were hoping to sweep the events at this meet and it worked out and I'm real proud," said Segerlin. "I couldn't be happier to end my SEC career this way. It will definitely be one I'll never forget."
"I was a little disappointed in Steve's prelim performance and I tried to light a fire under him a little bit," said Shaffer. "He responded like a defending national champion should respond."
In the men's prelims, Segerlin, Marx and Mazzaferro finished first, second and third, respectively, with Marx (358.20) and Mazzaferro (341.70) posting then-career bests. Sophomore Scott Morgan started strong but struggled down the stretch, placing 11th with a score of 252.65. Still, it improved on his 15th-place finish from last year's conference meet when he posted a score of 202.70.
Auburn, which had all four of its men's divers reach finals in the 1-meter and 3-meter boards and three of four on the platform, scored a whopping 177 points during the three day meet, giving the Tigers a sizable advantage heading into the swimming portion of the championships. Auburn leads second-place Florida by 106 points.
Segraves scored a personal-best 294.75 to finish second to Kentucky's Tarny Ignacio in the women's event. For Segraves, it was her third top-five finish at this championship meet and the seventh of her career, but it marked the first time she has medaled by placing in the top three.
Segraves, who scored what was then a personal-best 287.55 to finish second in the prelims earlier in the day, had finished fifth in both the 1-meter and 3-meter events earlier in the week. Her highest previous finish at an SEC meet was a fourth-place performance on the platform at the 2005 SEC Championships.
"I'm very, very happy," said Segraves. "I put a little bit of extra pressure on myself because this is my first medal during my four years, so that's all that I really wanted to accomplish along with diving well. This gives me a huge boost of confidence because this is a big chunk of the competition at the zones, so if I know that I can compete with the girls from the SEC, then zones should look pretty good for me as well."
Sophomore Corey Gerlach placed 14th in the prelims of the platform, scoring a career-best 194.60 points. It was an improvement for Gerlach, and easily surpassed her 17th-place finish at last year's SEC meet with a score of 170.25.
The two women's divers in attendance scored a total of 84 points during the three days of competition, putting Auburn in third place behind Kentucky (103) and LSU (101.5) entering the swimming portion of the championships.
With the diving portion of the SEC Swimming and Diving Championships now complete, the focus moves to the swimmers. Swimming events will take place Feb. 7-10.