Auburn Women's Swimming and Diving Finishes Sixth At The 2009 NCAA Championships
March 21, 2009
Video courtesy of SwimmingWorldMagazine.com
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The Auburn women’s swimming and diving team wrapped up competition late Saturday night, taking home a sixth-place finish from the 2009 NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships at the Texas A&M Student Rec Center Natatorium, March 19-21.
The Tigers accumulated a three-day point total of 281.5, trailing winner California (411.5), Georgia (400.5), Arizona (389), Stanford (312.5) and Texas (307).
Over the three days of championship competition, the Tigers broke three school records and earned 41 All-America honors split among 11 student-athletes. Auburn swimmers also hit 19 2008-09 top-times and set 17 career bests.
With its sixth-place finish at the NCAA Championships, the Auburn swimming and diving team has now finished in the top 10 for ten consecutive seasons.
“It’s been somewhat of an emotional weekend for these guys,” said Auburn co-head women’s coach Dorsey Tierney-Walker. “Maggie Bird had an outstanding mile today. It was the third fastest time in school history behind some pretty heavy hitters. I think we learned something about ourselves.
“You’ve got to congratulate Cal. They did an outstanding job. Their coach did a masterful job this weekend.”
Bird got things rolling for the Tigers in Saturday night finals, placing fourth in the 1,650 free for her second top-five finish of the championships. The Muncie, Ind., native swam a career best 15:52.35 to pick up 15 points for the Tigers. Sophomore Micah Martindale placed 22nd with a new career best 16:12.99, while senior Chelsea Haser finished 29th with a 16:19.37.
“My goal was to get underneath 16 minutes as much as I could,” said Bird. “I just did what I did and it worked out.
“It’s really exciting. There’s nothing like making finals – the intensity, the crowd. Everything makes you go that much faster.”
The Tigers advanced three swimmers to the finals of the 200 back with all three setting new career bests in qualifying. Junior Melissa Marik led Auburn in the finals, touching in at 1:53.93 for a 12th-place finish. Senior Julianne McLane (1:54.61) came in 14th with Rachel Goh (1:55.62) in 15th.
Sophomore Caitlin Geary hit back-to-back career best times in the 100 free, en route to a ninth-place finish. The Orlando, Fla., native swam a 48.09 in prelims and followed it with a 47.92 in the B final. Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace was on her heels, hitting the wall in 48.11. The pair picked up 16 points for the Tigers.
True freshman Micah Lawrence earned the Tigers a fourth-place finish in the 200 breast, picking up the first individual All-America honor of her Auburn career.
Lawrence won her preliminary heat with a time of 2:08.99, shattering the Auburn record in the process. The previous record of 2:10.81 was set by Alicia Jenson at the 2006 Championships. The mark was a four second improvement over Lawrence’s previous top-time set against Florida on Jan. 24.
“It was a great experience for Micah making finals in her freshman year, said Tierney-Walker. “It’s something to build on for the future. She had some good swims today.”
Also competing in the 200 breast were junior Abby Macgregor (2:12.14) in 28th and sophomore Melanie Roberts (2:13.03) in 37th.
Junior Ava Ohlgren was the only Tiger entered in the 200 fly, advancing to the finals for a 14th place finish. The two-time NCAA Champion hit the wall in 1:55.37.
Auburn held an 11.5 lead over Texas following the 200 fly, but lost it after the Longhorns picked up 33 points off the platform. The Tigers were now in sixth and trailed Texas by 11.5. Just one point separated top dogs Cal (371.5) and Georgia (370.5). Arizona was hot on their heels with 363. The Wildcats needed a win and a team other than Cal or Georgia to place second to secure a come-from-behind win.
The Tigers swam their second fastest time of the season, a 3:12.75 in the 400 FR with the team of Vanderpool-Wallace (48.02), Ohlgren (48.38), Marik (48.52) and Geary (47.83). Ohlgren’s split was the fastest second leg swam on the season.
Cal went on to take the final event and the team titles, setting a new US Open record of 3:09.88.
Complete results are available at http://www.aggieathletics.com/ncaa2009/swimming/women/index.html.
Full meet information is available at www.aggieathletics.com.
2009 NCAA Championship Notes
Maggie Bird – 500 free, 800 FR
2008-09 Top Times
Thursday, March 19
Maggie Bird – 500 free – 4:36.63 *
Friday, March 20
Saturday, March 21
Rachel Goh – 200 back – 1:53.84 *
March 21, 2009
*- Indicates career best
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