Feb. 18, 2014
ATHENS, Ga.– Auburn’s men’s 800 freestyle relay team set the school record and two divers reached the finals on the 3-meter springboard to put the Tiger men into first place following the first day of the 2014 SEC Swimming and Diving Championships at Gabrielsen Natatorium in Athens, Ga.
Auburn’s 192 points give the Tigers a 50-point lead over second-place Texas A&M as both teams collected strong diving performances on Tuesday. Defending SEC Champion Florida is third with 139 points followed by Tennessee with 135 points.
On the women’s side, Auburn is in tenth place with 80 points. A disqualification for the Tigers in the opening event of the night in the 200 medley relay caused Auburn to lose ground. Georgia leads with 187 points, followed by Tennessee’s 153 and Florida’s 139.
“We were one bad turn from a great night. Marcelo (Chierighini) slipped on the wall on the fly, it was just a mental error. The rest of the guys swam really well, especially with the 800 free relay setting the school record at the end,” Auburn head coach Brett Hawke said. “It was a really strong performance that gives us some momentum back for the morning.”
The Auburn men’s 200 medley relay team of Joe Patching, Michael Duderstadt, Marcelo Chierighini and James Disney-May posted the nation’s fifth best time of the year, clocking a 1:24.90 to start off the night for the men with a fifth-place finish.
The men closed out day one with school record-breaking performance in the men’s 800 freestyle relay as James Disney-May, Zane Grothe, Kyle Darmody and Arthur Mendes posted a time of 6:17.36 to break the Auburn record set in 2009. Disney-May led off with a split of 1:34.69, which ranks as the fifth-best mark in school history in the 200 freestyle.
The Tigers were in third at the halfway point, but Darmody turned in a split of 1:33.71 on the third leg to put Auburn in second heading into the final 200 yards. Mendes’ anchor swim of 1:34.66 was good enough to give the Tigers second place and the school record. The top six times in the race earned NCAA automatic qualifying times.
Auburn’s divers gave the Tigers a stellar performance on the opening day of competition placing four in the top 10 on the 3-meter board. Fraser McKean earned fifth place with a season-best score of 389.65, while John Santeiu IV was sixth at 362.55. It marked the second appearance for McKean in the championship final, while Santeiu made his fourth straight appearance in the 3-meter final.
“Four (divers) in the top 10 at this level is a great start to the meet on the men’s side,” Auburn diving coach Jeff Shaffer said.” “They (John Santeiu IV and Fraser McKean) both had their moments with John having his last dive set up with one of the best tops ever, but didn’t see the bottom, but that’s encouraging to see that. I can handle aggressive mistakes, but the cautious ones are hard to swallow. I thought they both competed well. We’re really getting to the point where we need to be in finishing this meet strong and getting ready for Zone B’s then getting to NCAAs.”
Auburn did not stop in the finals and got strong results from Michael Beran and Justin Youtsey. Beran nearly made it three Auburn divers in the championship final finishing ninth in prelims with a score of 347.30, just .25 points shy of the last qualifiying spot. Youtsey posted a score of 343.65 to take 10th place, just five points short of make the top-8 final.
“Diving did an outstanding job today and they’ve been working hard all year,” Hawke said. “It’s good to see them get rewarded for that. It gives us a buffer heading into tomorrow morning.”
For Auburn’s women, the night began with a rough start as the Tigers were disqualified for an early start on the anchor leg of the 200 medley relay. Auburn touched the wall in the fifth, but the Tigers’ time was thrown out for the early jump. In a time trial later on in the night, Auburn’s team of Emily Bos, Natasha Lloyd, Aubrey Peacock and Allyx Purcell rebounded with a time of 1:37.79 to earn an NCAA automatic qualifying time in the event.
The Tigers also earned a NCAA provisional time on day one, finishing sixth in the women’s 800 freestyle relay. Auburn’s squad of Alex Merritt, Haley Krakoski, Jillian Vitarius and Megan Fonteno went 7:10.57 in the final event of the night on the women’s side.
“The women were solid and they set themselves up for tomorrow. We’ve got to come back stronger tomorrow and I’m sure they will.”
Carly Scheper was Auburn’s top-finisher in the women’s 1-meter with a 12th-place score of 271.85 as four Tigers scored in the event. Shanna Schuelein finished 17th overall, scoring 264.35, while Morgan Mullins was 18th with a six-dive list of 262.25 to score in her first SEC Championships. Cinzia Calabretta factored in the scoring as well, taking 24th overall with 241.60.
Day two begins with individual preliminaries starting at 10 a.m. ET. Prelims will take place in the 500 freestyle, 200 IM, 50 freestyle, along with men’s 1-meter diving.
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Auburn Swimming & Diving
2014 SEC Championships – Day One
February 18, 2014
Gabrielsen Natatorium – Athens, Ga.
Men’s Team Scores: Auburn 192, Texas A&M 142, Florida 139, Tennessee 135, South Carolina 131, Kentucky 130, Georgia 124, Missouri 124, Alabama 115, LSU 107
Women’s Team Scores: Georgia 187, Tennessee 153, Florida 139, Texas A&M 135, LSU 128, Missouri 127, Alabama 117, Kentucky 117, Arkansas 108, Auburn 80, South Carolina 77, Vanderbilt 64
Men’s 200 Medley Relay
5. Patching, Duderstadt, Chierighini and Disney-May (1:24.90 – A)
Women’s 200 Medley Relay
--Bos, Lloyd, Fonteno, Purcell (DQ)
Time Trial: Bos, Lloyd, Peacock, Purcell (1:37.69 – A)
Men’s 3M Diving – Finals
5. Fraser McKean (389.65)
6. John Santeiu IV (362.55)
3. John Santeiu IV (392.90)
7. Fraser McKean (348.25)
9. Michael Beran (347.30)
10. Justin Youtsey (343.35)
Men’s 800 Freestyle Relay
2. Disney-May, Grothe, Darmody, Mendes (6:17.36 - A) [School Record]
Women’s 800 Freestyle Relay
6. Merritt, Krakoski, Vitarius, Fonteno (7:10.57 – B)
Auburn Notes (Day One)
- Sixth time in last seven years at the SEC Championships that Auburn has placed at least two divers in the men’s 3-meter final
- The finish by McKean and Santeiu marked the second time the pair from that has finished in the top-8 in the 3-meter final (2012)
- Santeiu made his fourth straight appearance in the men’s 3-meter championship final, while McKean made his second
- Auburn’s time of 6:17.36 broke a school record that dated back to 2009 and is the second-fastest time in the country this season
- James Disney-May’s leadoff split of 1:34.69 ranks as the fifth-best time in school in the 200-yard freestyle