Auburn Men Capture 15th-Straight SEC Title; Women Take Third
Feb. 19, 2011
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The Auburn men's swimming and diving team captured its 15th-consecutive Southeastern Conference Swimming and Diving Championship title Saturday at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center hosted by the University of Florida. Auburn won with 799 points, while Florida was second with 782 points.
"This is the way this meet is supposed to be," head coach Brett Hawke said. "The SEC is an extremely tough conference and Florida always gives us a run for our money. We have a tough team and winning the SEC title is a part of who we are. We have a tradition of excellence and this is an amazing team. I couldn't be more proud of their fight and will to hold on in the end."
The conference crown was the 17th title for the Tiger men overall, all coming in the last 18 years.
The finish marked the tenth year in a row that the Tigers and Gators have finished 1-2 in the SEC meet. The 17-point difference was the closest finish between the two teams. Last season, Auburn topped Florida by 19 points, 784-765.
The Auburn women finished third overall with 563 points. The Georgia women won their second-straight title with 720 points and the Gators took second with 678 points. The third-place finish was the 15th year in a row the Tigers have finished third or better.
With an 11-point lead over the Gators heading into the final event, the sprinting quartet of Adam Brown, Karl Krug, Drew Modrov and Kohlton Norys never let up as the team finished first in the 400 free relay with an NCAA "A" cut time of 2:49.95, besting the Gator team by two seconds.
The Gators took a 576-550 lead following the evening's first event of the 1,650 free, but the Tigers rallied back in the final five events starting with the 200 back.
The Auburn backstrokers did what they had to do to give Auburn a solid lead after two events. Sophomore Kyle Owens logged a career-best and an "A" cut time of 1:40.36 to finish in a close second, while junior Max Murphy swam a "B" time of 1:42.89 to take third.
Also scoring points in the 200 back were a pair of seniors in Norys and Jared White. Norys was sixth overall in a "B" time of 1:44.16, while White was 11th in a "B" time of 1:45.59.
The Tigers gained more ground in the team competition after the 100 free as four Auburn sprinters competed in the championship final. Senior Adam Brown clocked the evening's top time of 41.92, capturing an "A" cut time and the nation's fastest time in the event so far.
The win is the 15th overall 100 free win in Auburn history and the ninth year in a row a Tiger has been on top of the podium in the event.
"Adam (Brown) has taken another step towards becoming one of the fastest swimmers in the world," Hawke said. "He proved that this week by putting himself above the rest. I'm really proud of him and am expecting big things come NCAAs."
Junior Karl Krug finished third in the event, recording a career-best time of 42.78. Freshman Marcelo Chierighini was fourth in 42.82, while Modrov was seventh in 43.34. Freshman Chris Manning scored points for Auburn in the consolation final, finishing 12th in 44.11.
Zane Grothe got things started right for Auburn as the Boulder City, Nev., product concluded his first conference championship strong with a fourth-place finish in the 1,650 free. The freshman finished in a school-record time of 14:57.46, breaking the nine-year record held by Kevin Clements. The finish marked the first time since 2006 a Tiger has finished fourth or better in the event.
Auburn senior Adam Klein and sophomore Stuart Ferguson put together two big performances in the 200 breast to give Auburn a larger lead after four events. The pair finished tied for fourth with a "B" time of 1:57.36.
In the final individual event of the evening, Auburn senior Robert Looney reached the 200 fly championship final and finished eighth overall in 1:46.64. The Tigers got points from a pair of flyers in the consolation final as senior Andrew Mitchell was 11th (1:45.84) and freshman Nimrod Hayet was 13th (1:46.36).
Auburn's Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace earned her second-straight SEC title in the 100 free as she finished first in the event with an "A" time of 46.81. The finish tied a career-best time for the Nassau, Bahamas, product, who swam the same time during the prelims. That mark broke an eight-year NCAA record of 47.00 held by Olympian Natalie Coughlin. It also broke Coughlin's four-year U.S. Open record of 46.85.
"There isn't much to say except that she is a phenomenal athlete," Hawke said. "She is one of those athletes that come along once every 10-15 years. She loves to compete and hates to lose. She continually wants to be better at everything she does."
The Auburn team of Riordan, Geary, Emily Bos and Vanderpool-Wallace captured the 400 free relay title, clocking an "A" time of 3:13.03 to conclude the conference meet.
Junior Micah Lawrence qualified for the 200 breast final after clocking the second-fastest time in the prelims. The Pflugerville, Texas, product swam to a second-place finish in the championship final with a "B" time of 2:10.23.
Bos capped a great individual championship meet in the 200 back as the Holland, Mich., native took sixth in a time of 1:55.99. Senior Melanie Roberts qualified for the consolation final of the 200 fly and took 13th in a season-best time of 2:00.83.
The Auburn women had two score points in the 1,650 in sophomore Katie Gardocki and senior Micah Martindale. Gardocki finished eighth overall in a career-best and "B" time of 16:10.56, while Martindale finished 10th in a season-best and "B" time of 16:16.88.
Vanderpool-Wallace was named SEC Female Swimmer of the Year and also was one of two competitors to earn the women's SEC Commissioner's Trophy for high points scorer of the meet. Senior diver Dan Mazzaferro was named SEC Male Diver of the Year and was one of two to take the men's SEC Commissioner's Trophy. Diving coach Jeff Shaffer was named the SEC Men's Diving Coach of the Year for the fifth-straight year.
Complete SEC Championships results are available at www.gatorzone.com
The Auburn divers will next compete at the 2011 NCAA Zone meet in Athens, Ga., March 10-12. The Auburn women will head to the 2011 NCAA Championships, March 17-19, in Austin, Texas, on the campus of the University of Texas. The Auburn men will travel to Minneapolis, Minn., for the men's NCAA meet, March 24-26.
Auburn Swimming and Diving
Auburn Top Finishers - Women: 1650 Free - 8. Gardocki (16:10.56); 200 Back - 6. Bos (1:55.99); 100 Free - 1. Vanderpool-Wallace (46.81); 200 Breast - 2. Lawrence (2:10.23); 200 Fly - 13. Roberts (2:00.83); 400 Free Relay - 1. Riordan, Geary, Bos, Vanderpool-Wallace (3:13.03).
Men: 1650 Free - 4. Grothe (14:57.56); 200 Back -2. Owens (1:40.36); 100 Free - 1. Brown (41.92); 200 Breast - t4. Ferguson & Klein (1:57.32); 200 Fly -8. Looney (1:46.64); 400 Free Relay - 1. Brown, Krug, Modrov, Norys (2:49.95).
On Adam Brown's performance in the 100 free...
On Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace...
Kohlton Norys, senior
On looking forward to NCAAs...
Auburn Automatic NCAA Qualifiers
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