Cesar Cielo And Auburn Sprinters Shine During Opening Session Of NCAA Championships
Cesar Cielo

March 15, 2007



Sophomore Cesar Cielo and the Auburn sprinters captured the spotlight as the Auburn men's swimming and diving team began its quest for a fifth straight NCAA title during the prelim session at the opening day of the NCAA Championships. Cielo posted the second- and third-fastest marks in world history in the 50 free and helped Auburn set an NCAA record in the 200 free relay during the opening session.




The meet started with a bang for Auburn, as the Tigers set an NCAA record on their first swim of the competition, thanks in part to Cielo's leadoff leg. He posted a blistering time of 18.89 seconds on the lead leg, making him just the second swimmer in history go under 19 seconds in the 50 free. Matt Targett, Jakob Andkjaer and Scott Goodrich followed Cielo on the relay, as the Tigers finished in 1:15.56 to break the NCAA record of 1:15.78 set by California in 2005.


Cielo's time of 18.89 trailed only former Tiger Fred Bousquet in world history. Bosquet posted a world-record time of 18.74 in the prelims of the 50 free at the 2005 meet, which was also held in Minneapolis.


However, that mark would only stand for about an hour, as Cielo raced to a mark of 18.84 seconds as Auburn dominated the prelims of the 50 free. The Tigers posted four of the top six times and five of the top 10, led by Cielo's mark. Bryan Lundquist was fourth overall with a time of 19.16 seconds, while Targett came in fifth in 19.20 and Goodrich was sixth in 19.31.


Andkjaer finished 10th in 19.52 to reach the consolation finals, while Alexei Puninski was just off the pace, placing 22nd with a time of 19.70.


Stanford's Ben Wildman-Tobriner became the third sub-19 second swimmer during the 50 free prelims, clocking an 18.98 to place second behind Cielo.


In the 200 IM, James Wike reached the championship finals for the second year in a row, posting a season-best time of 1:44.96 to finish seventh in the prelims. Swimming in the consolation finals will be Jon Roberts, who was 15th in the prelims with a time of 1:46.07, and Sean Osborne, who was 16th in 1:46.20. Also competing in the 200 IM for Auburn was Tyler McGill (1:47.35), who was 26th, Joey Schneider (1:48.70), who was 36th and Logan Madson (1:49.59), who was 38th.


Wike also led off Auburn's 400 medley relay team, which posted the third-fastest time in the prelims of 3:09.20. Wike and David Maras, Puninski and Lundquist finished behind only Northwestern (3:07.78) and Stanford (3:08.58).


Neither of Auburn's two swimmers in the 500 free reached the finals. Daniel Slocki came closest, finishing in 4:20.52, which ranked 18th and was just .03 seconds behind the 16th-place finisher. Pascal Wollach finished 32nd with a time of 4:24.65.


Finals in the same events plus the 1-meter diving competition will take place this evening beginning at 7 p.m. CT. Live results can be found on the Minnesota athletics website at www.gophersports.com.


2007 NCAA Championships
Auburn Day One Prelim Finishes


200 free relay

1. Auburn (Cielo, Targett, Andkjaer, Goodrich), 1:15.56


500 free

18. Daniel Slocki, 4:20.52

32. Pascal Wollach, 4:24.65


200 IM

7. James Wike, 1:44.96

15. Jon Roberts, 1:46.07

16. Sean Osborne,1:46.20

26. Tyler McGill, 1:47.35

36. Joey Schneider, 1:48.70

38. Logan Madson, 1:49.59


50 free

1. Cesar Cielo, 18.84

4. Bryan Lundquist, 19.18

5. Matt Targett, 19.20

6. Scott Goodrich, 19.31

10. Jakob Andkjaer, 19.52

22. Alexei Puninski, 19.70


400 medley relay

3. Auburn (Wike, Maras, Puninski, Lundquist), 3:09.20