Feb. 21, 2013
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Auburn won a pair of medals Thursday night to highlight the action on the third day of 2013 SEC Swimming & Diving Championships at the Texas A&M Student Rec Center.
"Our best two days are ahead of us," Auburn head coach Brett Hawke said. "We knew we were going to have to hold on and fight the first three days. I am optimistic that we will perform well tomorrow. The divers have been outstanding. It was fantastic to see John (Santeiu) on the podium tonight."
Florida used its tremendous depth in the 400 IM and 200 free to take the lead with 748 points, and Auburn dropped to second place with 630.5 points and two days of competition - including some of the Tigers' best events - still remaining. Georgia is third with 549, and Texas A&M is fourth with 426.5.
On the women's side, the Tigers climbed from seventh place up to fifth with 353 points. Georgia extended its lead with 790 points, 114 ahead of second-place Florida (676). Texas A&M is third with 659 and Tennessee is fourth with 557.
Junior Olivia Scott earned her second straight SEC silver medal in the 100-yard butterfly, coming up just five-hundredths of a second short in an incredibly close race with Florida freshman Natalie Hinds. Hinds touched in 51.70 to Scott's 51.75. Those rank as the two fastest times in the country this year and both will be among the favorites at the NCAA Championships. Lindsey Norberg earned an 11th-place finish with a personal-best 53.45 to place third in the B-final, and Alex Merritt was 13th with a 53.97. Megan Fonteno finished sixth in the C-final with a 54.20.
Auburn's other medal came in the men's 3-meter diving event. John Santeiu won his fourth career SEC medal with a third-place finish in the 3-meter diving event, scoring a career-best 395.20. Four Tigers scored in the event overall - Michael Beran was 11th overall with a 329.25 in prelims, Andrew Laing took 12th with a 327.15, and Fraser McKean was 15th with a 321.05.
"I am very proud of the divers, especially John," Auburn diving coach Jeff Shaffer said. "He had a rough second and fourth dive in the prelims, and he came back strong. He had his highest-difficulty dive, an inward 3 ½, for the last dive, and he needed it for the finish. He stepped up and did a great job. To have four in the top 15 again is a great accomplishment, and I am proud of the guys.
Arthur Mendes made a splash in his first SEC individual race with a 46.69 to tie for sixth with Florida's Bradley deBorde. That time sits just outside the all-time Auburn top 10 in the event, most of which were set when technical suits were still legal. Marcelo Chierighini won the consolation final with a 46.85, a career-best time for the Auburn junior. And Kevin Behrens earned a point for the Tigers with a 24th-place finish in 48.74.
Juniors Zane Grothe and James Disney-May finished fifth and sixth, respectively, in the 200 freestyle final. Grothe clocked a 1:35.61, and Disney-May posted a 1:35.88. Alex Hancock finished 15th overall with a 1:37.52 in the B-final, and Tommy McKee was 16th in 1:37.75.
Freshman Jordan Jones turned in an eighth-place finish in the men's 400 IM final with a time of 3:47.48, the first top-8 finisher for Auburn in the 400 IM since 2011. Jones' prelim time of 3:46.24 was the fourth-fastest time in Auburn history. Senior Chris Kramer clocked a personal-best time of 3:49.69 in the C-final to finish 20th overall.
In the women's 400 IM, Sarah Peterson finished 13th overall with a 4:12.99, and Micah Lawrence was just behind her with a 4:13.94 for 14th place. And the women's 200 free wrapped up the night with Becca Jones taking 23rd place in 1:48.76 and Katie Gardocki finishing 24th with a 1:48.78.
Day four of the 2013 SEC Championships begins at 10 a.m. Friday with prelims in the 200 fly, 100 back and 100 breast, and women's platform diving prelims begin at 1 p.m. Live scoring and live video are available through AggieAthletics.com, and fans can follow @AuburnSwimming on Twitter for updates from the pool.
Auburn Swimming & Diving
2013 SEC Championships - Day 3 Finals
February 21, 2013
Texas A&M Student Rec Center - College Station, Texas
Men's Team Scores: Florida 748, Auburn 630.5, Georgia 549, Texas A&M 426.5, Tennessee 421, LSU 353.5, Missouri 344, South Carolina 314.5, Alabama 270, Kentucky 247.
Women's Team Scores: Georgia 790, Florida 676, Texas A&M 659, Tennessee 557, Auburn 353, Missouri 297, LSU 297, Arkansas 280, Kentucky 220, Alabama 176, South Carolina 148, Vanderbilt 93.