March 20, 2008
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Auburn women's swimming team began its quest to defend its NCAA Championship title and earn its sixth title in the last seven years on Thursday as five swimmers and two relays advanced to the finals following the preliminaries of the opening day of the 2008 NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships.
Arizona qualified the most athletes for finals on Thursday with eight individuals and two relays. Auburn and Stanford each qualified five swimmers and two relays.
Sophomore Ava Ohlgren had the top individual finish for the Tigers as she finished second in the 200 IM with a time of 1:55.25. She finished behind Stanford's Julia Smit as she clocked a 1:54.97, setting a new pool record. Senior Emily Kukors followed in fifth with a time of 1:56.78 to give Auburn two qualifiers in the A Final.
Others swimming in the 200 IM were Emile Ewing (22nd, 1:59.60), Melanie Roberts (23rd, 1:59.73) and Josefin Wede (43rd, 2:01.86). Ewing's time ranks seventh all-time at Auburn while Roberts' ranks eighth, but neither were fast enough to make the finals.
Senior Kara Denby also had a standout showing as she finished third in the 50 free with a time of 22.06, a mark that ranks second all-time at Auburn. She had a huge jump in the rankings as she entered the meet was the 14th seed in the 50 free and moved her way up to third heading into the evening's finals.
Alana Dillette also swam the 50 free, finishing 58th with a time of 23.28.
Auburn qualified two more for finals in the 500 free, led by sophomore Maggie Bird as she finished eighth to make the A Final with a time of 4:41.95. Chelsea Haser followed in 16th, clocking a 4:44.08, to pick up the final spot in the B Final.
Both of Auburn's relays also qualified for A Finals. The team of Ohlgren, Denby, Ewing and Kukors finished seventh in the 200 free relay with a time of 1:29.43 to advance. Ohlgren's 50 free leadoff time of 22.46 ties her personal best and ranks sixth all-time at Auburn.
Finals in the same events, plus the 1-meter diving competition, will take place tonight at 7 p.m. ET. Fans can watch live at www.ncaa.com/swimming-womens/ with live results at www.ncaaswim.com/women08/.
2008 NCAA Championships Auburn Day One Prelim Finishes
200-Yard Freestyle Relay
7 - Ohlgren (22.46), Denby (22.36),Ewing (22.23), Kukors (22.38) - 1:29.43
400-Yard Medley Relay
2 - Marik (53.56), Denby (59.72), McCawley (53.06), Kukors (48.23) - 3:34.57