March 24, 2011
MINNEAPOLIS - Auburn advanced seven swimmers and two relays after preliminaries Thursday morning at the 2011 NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center in Minneapolis, Minn.
"We did some very nice things this morning and put us in contention, but we have to finish better than we did," said Auburn head coach Brett Hawke. "We definitely have our work cut out for us tonight with Cal, Texas, Arizona and Stanford having really good mornings."
Senior Adam Brown highlighted the morning for Auburn. He led a team that included Kohlton Norys, Chris Manning and Marcelo Chierighini to a win in the 200 free relay prelim with a time of 1:15.50. Brown led off with a time of 18.93, improving his personal-best 50 free by a tenth of a second. Chierighini's anchor split of 18.68 was the fastest in the event.
Brown topped his time three events later as he touched in with an 18.91 in the 50 free prelim, taking second place behind Cal's Nathan Adrian (18.76). Brown is the fifth Tiger ever to swim a 50 freestyle in less than 19 seconds, joining the likes of Cesar Cielo, Matt Targett, Fred Bousquet and Jakob Andkjaer.
Joining Brown in the championship final will be junior Karl Krug as he came in with a time of 19.31. Senior Kohlton Norys led four Tigers into the consolation final, taking ninth place with a personal-best time of 19.38. Drew Modrov took 13th (19.48) while Marcelo Chierighini (15th, 19.58) and Chris Manning (16th, 19.62) took the final two spots. Modrov, Chierighini and Manning all swam personal-best times.
All nine Tigers that competed in the 50 free came in under 20 seconds. T.J. Leon (39th, 19.95), Jared Cox (42nd, 19.98) and Tony Cox (43rd, 19.99) rounded out the field for Auburn.
Also making waves was freshman Zane Grothe in the 500 free as he took fifth place with an Auburn-record time of 4:16.57. He topped the previous record time of 4:16.94 that was set by Will Dove in 2009. Grothe becomes the first Tiger to qualify for a final in the 500 free since 2005 and the first to qualify for the championship final since B.J. Jones did so in 2003.
Sophomores Kyle Owens and Stuart Ferguson represented Auburn in the 200 IM, taking 19th and 52nd, respectively. Owens finished with a time of 1:44.76 while Ferguson came in at 1:49.32.
Auburn rounded out the morning by taking 11th in the 400 medley relay with a time of 3:10.37, advancing to the consolation final. Representing Auburn in the prelim were White, Adam Klein, Cox and Krug.
In the diving event for the day, senior Dan Mazzaferro finished 18th on the 1-meter springboard with a score of 320.70. He came less than five points away from qualifying for finals.
Action continues at 7 p.m. tonight with finals. Fans can follow along with live results and a free live streaming video at www.GopherSports.com.
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