Feb. 21, 2014
ATHENS, Ga. – Auburn freshman Kyle Darmody won a pair of gold medals, and junior Fraser McKean took silver in the men’s platform diving final on the fourth night of the 2014 SEC Swimming and Diving Championships in Athens, Ga.
Darmody posted his first career ‘A’ cut as the freshman turned the nation’s second-fastest time this season at 45.66 to win the 100 back championship final. He was .32 seconds ahead of Georgia’s Taylor Dale as the freshman pair finished 1-2. It was the first career individual title for the Darmody.
“I was about a half-second faster than I was this morning and that was a second drop for me so about a second-and-a-half for me on the day was really good for my time,” Darmody said. “Every Tuesday morning we’ve been getting at each other to get better in our 100 back practice group and my training paid off. I was glad to get the win for our team.”
Darmody’s win gave Auburn it’s eighth 100 back gold medal in the last 10 years and is the third straight title by an Auburn swimmer as former Tiger Kyle Owens won the title the last two years. The Tigers also got an eighth-place swim out of senior James Disney-May (47.00) in the championship final, while Joe Patching took the win in the consolation final touching the wall at 46.92.
“What an outstanding performance by the freshman, he’s been having a lights-out meet. He’s got so much confidence right now. I’m very happy to see him win,” Auburn head coach Brett Hawke said.
The freshman came back and helped Auburn’s 400 medley team to a first-place finish as Darmody, Michael Duderstadt, Arthur Mendes and Marcelo Chierighini clocked the nation’s second-fastest time in the country at 3:05.38 to win gold. Darmody led off with a 45.94 split on the backstroke to put Auburn out in front and Chierighini vaulted the Tigers back into the lead on the final turn with an anchor split of 41.94.
“We knew we had to be our best in all four legs and every guy had really strong splits. In the end it came down to a head-to-head race and we came out on top,” Hawke said on the 400 medley relay.
On the men’s platform final, Fraser McKean just missed taking first but won his second medal of the SEC Championship finishing second with a personal record score of 413.25. Michael Beran was sixth overall scoring 359.20, a season best. John Santeiu IV finished eighth in his final SEC event of his Auburn career with a score of 346.45.
“Overall, it was a great night. Fraser was solid and had a chance to win it in the end. He had a great last dive,” Auburn diving coach Jeff Shaffer said. “I feel for John not finishing the way he would probably want to with his last SEC event, but we’ll regroup and get ready for (NCAA) zones. I’m excited for Fraser; you know it wasn’t a great contest, but it was in the end because four guys had a chance to win it.”
On the women’s 100 back, the Tigers went three-up as Aubrey Peacock led the way finishing fourth after a personal record swim of 52.24, while fellow senior Emily Bos took fifth setting a new personal record at 52.37, that would be lowered later in the night. Peacock now holds the fourth-fastest time in Auburn history, while Bos ranks fifth and Sarah Peterson, who finished eighth in the championship final at 52.75 also ranks tenth.
“We’re in a head-to-head battle with Tennessee and the women are energized to go out and compete in the morning. The women are quietly having a good meet after the disqualification on the 200 medley relay on the opening night. They are swimming confidently and we’re looking forward to tomorrow,” Hawke said.
Arthur Mendes took fifth in the 200 butterfly as the sophomore clocked a new personal record at 1:43.01, close to a full second faster than he went in the morning prelims. Mendes now ranks fifth in school history in the event and his time on Friday night earned an NCAA 'A' cut. Allen Browning took 13th overall with a new PR time of 1:45.32 in the consolation final, while Alex Hancock was 18th overall in the C-final posting a time of 1:45.13.
Michael Duderstadt just missed the podium in the men’s 100 breast championship final, but recorded a new personal best in his fourth-place finish at 52.67 climbing all the way into fourth in Auburn history with that time. In the C-final, Peter Haas took 22nd overall in 54.97, while Forrest Davis added a 23rd-place finish at 55.13.
Five Auburn women scored in the 200 butterfly. Alexandria Merritt led the way with a career-best swim of 1:56.27to take seventh. Merritt’s new time still holds as the seventh-best mark in school history. Sarah Peterson went 1:58.77 to post a ‘B’ cut time finishing 12th overall in the consolation final, while Valerie Inghels turned in nearly an identical time from the morning, just .01 off her prelim time at 1:59.40 to finish 14th overall. The freshman tandem of Kristen Murslack (19th – 1:59.49) and Maddie Martin (22nd-2:00.38) scored in their first SEC Championships swimming in the C-final.
Auburn’s women went 3:35.67 to record a NAA provisional cut time in the final race of the night in the 400 medley relay. Emily Bos lowered her PR time down to 25.31 with a leadoff split in the backstroke, to pass former Auburn great Kirsty Coventry and move into fourth all-time in the career record books in the 100 back.
Saturday’s final day of competition gets underway at 10 a.m. ET with prelims in the 100 freestyle, 200 backstroke, 200 breaststroke and women’s platform diving. The last night of finals are set to start at 6 p.m. The 1,650 freestyle will take place with timed finals between sessions.
Auburn cut into Florida’s lead and trail by 80 points heading into the final day of competition. Florida holds the top spot at 1,097.5 points, with Auburn in second at 1,017.5. Georgia remains in third (806), Missouri is fourth (572) and Tennessee is fifth (568) with one day left.
The Tiger women are in a neck-and-neck battle with Tennessee for fourth place heading into Saturday. Auburn (571) trails by just eight points (579) heading into Saturday. Georgia continues to lead on the women’s side with 1,098 points, while Texas A&M jumped to second on Friday with 911 points; Florida is third at 799.
The final day of competition begins on Saturday at 10 a.m. (ET) from Gabrielsen Natatorium. Prelims will in the 100 freestyle, 200 backstroke, 200 breaststroke and women’s platform diving will be contested.
Auburn Swimming & Diving
2014 SEC Championships – Day 4
February 21, 2014
Gabrielsen Natatorium – Athens, Ga.
Men’s Team Scores: Florida 1097.5, Auburn 1017.5, Georgia 806, Missouri 572, Tennessee 568, Alabama 506, Texas A&M 471, LSU 425, Kentucky 417, South Carolina 416
Women’s Team Scores: Georgia 1,098, Texas A&M 911, Florida 799, Tennessee 579, Auburn 571, LSU 393, Alabama 393, Missouri 378.5, Arkansas 373, Kentucky 313, South Carolina 185, Vanderbilt 147.5
Men’s 400 Medley Relay
1. Darmody, Duderstadt, Mendes, Chierighini (3:05.38)
Women’s 400 Medley Relay
7. Bos, Lloyd, Peacock, Purcell (3:35.68)
- Kyle Darmody’s time in the 100 back ranks second in the nation and is the fifth-best time in Auburn history.
- Auburn has won eight out of the last 10 SEC Championships in the 100 back.
- The Tigers have won 12 of the last 14 in the 400 medley relay, third straight title.
- Aubrey Peacock (4th), Emily Bos (5th), Jillian Vitarius (9th) and Sarah Reynolds (10th) all rank in the top-10 in school history in the 100 back.