Auburn Fifth After Day One at NCAA Men's Championships
March 22, 2012
FEDERAL WAY, Wash. - Zane Grothe set an Auburn record in the 500-yard freestyle, and Auburn got several strong performances on Thursday night at the 2012 NCAA Men's Swimming & Diving Championships to stand in fifth place at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center just outside Seattle.
The Tigers have 106.5 points and are in fifth place, just 11.5 back of fourth-place Arizona. California holds the first-day lead with 157.5 points, followed by Stanford (140) and Texas (128.5). Cal won both relays and the 200 individual medley on the opening day of the meet.
"We swam great this morning and set it up for tonight," Auburn head coach Brett Hawke said. "We had some really good swims. The 200 free relay stepped up. The boys came together tonight. We left a couple of points on the board in a few individual swims, but we've proven that we can be in this meet and we can compete. We're looking forward to coming back tomorrow and racing tough; really need guys to step up tomorrow."
Grothe improved on his seventh-place finish at last year's NCAA Championships and lowered his own school record in the 500 freestyle yet again, clocking a 4:15.42 to take fourth place and earn 15 more points for the Tigers.
"Zane is swimming outstanding," Hawke said. "He's out there working hard, most of the time by himself. It's good to see him get those rewards at the end of all this."
Grothe hovered between fifth and sixth place for most of the race, but closing splits of 25.32 and 24.30 in his last 100 yards helped him overtake Michigan's Connor Jaeger for fourth place by .25 seconds.
"Overall I knew it was going to be faster the whole heat," Grothe said. "This morning I just went with what Brett said. He said, `You've got to let it hurt if you want to win.' And I did, and I made it back fifth. Last year I went three-tenths slower than my prelims swim, and I wanted to do better than that this year. I got a little shaken up (early in the race). I tried to go out harder, and I think it affected me a little bit. Then with about five laps left, I turned it on, and it was like a little shot of adrenaline to see myself catching up to some people."
The 200 freestyle relay team got the night off to a great start with a runner-up finish. The team of Drew Modrov, Karl Krug, TJ Leon and Marcelo Chierighini clocked a 1:16.67 to finish just .09 shy of winning a national title as California stormed to the win in the outside lane.
The Tigers, however, were in fourth place with 50 yards to go. But Chierighini's final split of 19.02 seconds was enough to track down and overtake Texas and Arizona as Auburn out-touched the Wildcats by .04 and the Longhorns by .05.
Kyle Owens earned an eighth-place finish in the 200 IM with a time of 1:44.85 to secure Auburn's first top-eight, All-America honor in the event since James Wike also took eighth place in 2007. He was unable to find his pace from this morning where he posted a 1:43.71 to earn his way into the championship final.
Modrov also finished eighth in the 50 freestyle final with a time of 19.62 to earn his second career All--America honor in the event. Krug finished third in the consolation final with a time of 19.49, while Chierighini tied for seventh with a 19.65.
The 400 medley relay team wrapped up the day with a fifth-place finish. The team of Owens, Stuart Ferguson, Leon and Chierighini posted a time of 3:06.51, dropping nearly two full seconds off their preliminary swim and touching just .10 behind fourth-place Stanford. Chierighini's closing 100-yard split of 41.63 was the fastest in the field.
Day two of the 2012 NCAA Championships gets underway Friday at 11 a.m. PT (1 p.m. CT) with preliminaries in the 200 medley relay, 400 IM, 100 butterfly, 100 breaststroke, 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke. Three-meter diving prelims begin at 1:30 p.m. PT, and the 800 freestyle relay will be contested as timed finals Friday night. Live results and live video are available through NCAA.com, and fans can follow @AuburnSwimming on Twitter for updates throughout the meet.
Auburn Swimming & Diving
Team Scores (Top 10): Cal 157.5, Stanford 140, Texas 128.5, Arizona 118, Auburn 106.5, Michigan 84, Southern Cal 79, Florida 58, Louisville 46, Texas A&M 43.
Auburn Top Finishers: 200 Free Relay: 2. Modrov, Krug, Leon, Chierighini (1:16.67); 500 Freestyle: 4. Grothe (4:15.42); 200 IM: 8. Owens (1:44.85); 50 Freestyle: 8. Modrov (19.62); 1-Meter Diving: 26. Santeiu (263.80); 400 Medley Relay: 5. Owens, Ferguson, Leon, Chierighini (3:06.51)
Auburn All-Americans (13)
Auburn School Records
More Auburn Football Headlines
More Auburn Headlines