Tigers in Sixth Place After Day Two of NCAA Championships

AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM
<B>Kyle Owens</b>

AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM
Kyle Owens
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM

March 24, 2012

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FEDERAL WAY, Wash. - Junior Kyle Owens earned a fourth-place finish in the 100-yard backstroke to highlight Friday's action at the 2012 NCAA Men's Swimming & Diving Championships. Auburn is in sixth place after two days at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center.

The Tigers have 178.5 points and stand 20.5 points back of fifth-place Michigan. California extended its lead with three wins on Friday as the Bears have 379.5 points. Texas is in second place with 343.5, and Arizona moved into third place with 283 points.

"It was a good day, it just wasn't great," Auburn head coach Brett Hawke said. "We're having some good performances, but we're looking for something a little extra (Saturday) morning. We have a chance to battle for fifth, and it's going to be a test for these guys for the future, to see if we can dig down and find a way to move up a spot. That will be the challenge for tomorrow. There's some good swimming going on, but we need more of it. We need some guys stepping up in the morning to make it happen."

Owens equaled his finish from last year's NCAA Championships, finishing fourth in the 100 backstroke in a time of 45.98. It was a busy day for the junior from Johnson City, Tenn., as he competed in three events for the Tigers. He swam the leadoff leg of the 200 medley relay and the second leg of the 800 freestyle relay as well.

"It was a big day," Owens said. "I knew it coming into the meet. The focus this morning was just to get back in the 100 (backstroke) and swim really fast in the 200 medley (relay) as well, and I accomplished that. I came back tonight swinging hard with the fastest split in the200 medley and fourth in the 100 back. Overall, the team did really well, and I'm really proud of everyone."

Senior Max Murphy took third place in the 100 back consolation final (12th overall) to earn his first individual All-America honor in the event with a career-best time of 46.92.

Auburn's 200 medley relay team of Owens, Stuart Ferguson, Marcelo Chierighini and Karl Krug opened the night with a third-place finish in a time of 1:24.70. Owens had the Tigers in the lead after the backstroke leg with a split of 21.24, and the Tigers never fell lower than third after a strong butterfly leg from Chierighini. Krug then held off a hard-charging Jimmy Feigen of Texas to snag the bronze for the Tigers as he out-touched the Longhorn senior by .03 seconds.

Sophomores Zane Grothe and James Disney-May gave Auburn its first scoring swims in the 200 freestyle since 2007. Grothe finished 14th overall with a time of 1:35.56, and Disney-May was 16th in 1:36.05.

Ferguson earned his best career finish in the 100 breaststroke, posting a time of 53.30 to take fourth in the consolation final (12th overall) and earn valuable points for the Tigers.

The 800 freestyle relay team of Disney-May, Owens, Allen Browning and Grothe finished the night with a 12th-place time of 6:27.92. Despite a tough opening 400 yards, Browning and Grothe closed strong, both going under 1:36 in their splits to help the Tigers to 12th place.

In 3-meter diving prelims earlier in the afternoon, sophomore John Santeiu finished in 29th place with a score of 301.35.

Prelims in the 200 backstroke, 200 breaststroke, 100 freestyle, 200 butterfly and 400 freestyle relay get underway at 11 a.m. PT (1 p.m. CT) Saturday. Platform diving prelims are set to begin at 1:30 p.m. PT, and all but the fastest heats of the 1650 freestyle will be contested later in the afternoon. Live results are available through NCAA.com, and fans can follow @AuburnSwimming on Twitter for updates throughout the meet.

Auburn Swimming & Diving
2012 NCAA Men's Championships - Day Two Finals
March 23, 2012
Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center - Federal Way, Wash.

Team Scores (Top 10 and SEC):
1. California - 379.5
2. Texas - 343.5
3. Arizona - 283
4. Stanford - 277
5. Michigan - 199
6. Auburn - 178.5
7. Florida - 125
8. Southern Cal - 119
9. Louisville - 110
10. Indiana - 102
13. Georgia - 62.5
21. Tennessee - 22
23. Kentucky - 18
34. Alabama - 5

Auburn Top Finishers: 200 Medley Relay: 3. Owens, Ferguson, Chierighini, Krug (1:24.70); 100 Butterfly: 30. Chierighini (47.49); 200 Freestyle: 14. Grothe (1:35.56); 100 Breaststroke: 12. Ferguson (53.30); 100 Backstroke: 4. Owens (45.98); 3-Meter Diving: 29. Santeiu (301.35); 800 Freestyle Relay: 12. Disney-May, Owens, Browning, Grothe (6:27.92)

Auburn Notes
--Zane Grothe and James Disney-May were the first Auburn swimmers to score in the 200 freestyle at the NCAA Championships since Joey Schneider finished 15th in 2007.
--It was the first time for Auburn to have multiple scorers in the 200 free since 2006, when Rory Connell (6th), George Bovell (10th) and Joey Schneider (15th) all scored.
--Kyle Owens has finished fourth in the 100 backstroke for two straight years.
--Max Murphy broke the 47-second mark in the 100 backstroke for the first two times in his career on Friday, posting a 46.94 in prelims and a 46.92 in the finals.
--Stuart Ferguson earned his best career finish in the 100 breaststroke; surpassing a 14th-place showing in 2010.

Auburn All-Americans (26)
Allen Browning (1) - 800 FR HM
Marcelo Chierighini (4) - 50 Free HM, 200 FR, 200 MR, 400 MR
James Disney-May (3) - 200 Free HM, 400 MR, 800 FR HM
Stuart Ferguson (2) - 100 Breast HM, 400 MR
Zane Grothe (3) - 200 Free HM, 500 Free, 800 FR HM
Karl Krug (3) - 50 Free HM, 200 FR, 200 MR
TJ Leon (2) - 200 FR, 400 MR
Drew Modrov (2) - 200 FR, 50 Free
Max Murphy (1) - 100 Back HM
Kyle Owens (5) - 100 Back, 200 IM, 200 MR, 400 MR, 800 FR HM