March 10, 2007
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -
The Auburn women's swimming and diving team is poised to attempt another come-from-behind victory at the NCAA Championships, as the Tigers put themselves in position to make up ground on Arizona during Saturday's final prelims session. Last year, Auburn made up 53 points on Georgia during the final day to win its fourth title in the last five years. This year, the Tigers trail Arizona by 32 points (375-343) entering the final night of competition.
Auburn advanced five swimmers to championship finals and seven to consolation finals during Saturday's prelims, while Arizona put four swimmers into the championship finals and three into consolation finals. In addition, Auburn has the top two seeds plus the fifth seed in tonight's 1650 free timed final, has the No. 1-seeded 400 free relay team (Arizona is No. 4) and has one diver competing on the platform while the Wildcats do not.
The session got off to a good start when Auburn advanced all five of its swimmers in the 200 back into Saturday night's finals, although four of the five are in the consolation final. Melissa Marik, seeded 21st, finished eighth in the prelims with a personal-best time of 1:55.98 to sneak into the championship final. Margo McCawley, the 44th seed, finished 10th with a new best of 1:56.16, and she will be joined in the consolation final by Julianne McLane (1:56.22), who was 11th, Rachel Goh (1:56.67), who was 14th, and Emile Ewing (1:56.87), who was 15th.
Auburn will have two swimmers in the championship final of the 100 free, led by Kara Denby, who broke her own school record by one one-hundredth of a second with a time of 48.04, which ranked fourth in the prelims. She will be joined by Emily Kukors, who was sixth in 48.77 seconds.
The Tigers will also have two swimmers in the championship final of the 200 fly. SEC Champion Kristen Hastrup set a new school record with a time of 1:55.32 to place third in the prelims, breaking the Auburn mark of 1:55.53 set by Demerae Christianson in 2004. She will be joined in the final by Ava Ohlgren, who advanced from heat one with a 1:56.32 which ranked seventh. Tawnie Bethune reached the consolation final with a time of 1:57.93, finishing in 10th place.
In the 200 breast, Auburn put two swimmers into the consolation finals. Julie Stupp was 12th in the prelims with a time of 2:12.70, while Alicia Jensen placed 15th in 2:13.83. Anne Amardeilh appeared to qualify 13th in 2:12.89, but was disqualified.
The session concluded with Auburn posting the top time in the 400 free relay, as the group of Denby, Marik, Ewing and Kukors sped to a time of 3:14.83, just .12 seconds ahead of California.
Finals in the same events plus the 1650 free and the platform diving competition will take place this evening beginning at 7 p.m. CT. Fans can watch live at ESPN360.com and live results can be found on the Minnesota athletics website at www.gophersports.com.
2007 NCAA Championships
Auburn Day Three Prelim Finishes
8. Melissa Marik, 1:55.98
10. Margo McCawley, 1:56.16
11. Julianne McLane, 1:56.22
14. Rachel Goh, 1:56.67
15. Emile Ewing, 1:56.87
4. Kara Denby, 48.04
6. Emily Kukors, 48.77
12. Julie Stupp, 2:12.70
15. Alicia Jensen, 2:13.83
Anne Amardeilh, DQ
3. Kristen Hastrup, 1:55.32
7. Ava Ohlgren, 1:56.32
10. Tawnie Bethune, 1:57.93
400 free relay
1. Auburn (Denby, Marik, Ewing, Kukors), 3:14.83