Auburn Men's Swimming and Diving Makes it Four-in-a-Row, Complete Sweep of 2006 NCAA Swimming and Diving Titles
March 25, 2006
Atlanta, Ga. - In front of a full house at the Georgia Tech Aquatics the Auburn men's swimming and diving team put together an amazing finale to capture its fourth straight and sixth overall NCAA title and give head coach David Marsh his third sweep of the NCAA men and women's crowns. Auburn claimed the crown with 480.5 points, followed by Arizona with 440.5 points.
"Every championship is different for us," Marsh said. "This men's team in particular has come from everywhere and it took all year to bring this team together. The last two months I saw synergy happening within our team and you have to have that at this meet to be successful. I am very proud of how our men stepped up together and we are excited to return another NCAA title home to Auburn University."
The phrase "strength in numbers" said it all for Auburn on the final day as depth propelled the men to the championship, giving Auburn swimming and diving its 10th national title since Marsh took over the AU program during the 1990-91 season.
The Tiger senior class of Kurt Cady, George Bovell, Eric Shanteau and Doug Van Wie accomplished what no one ever has before at Auburn - conclude their collegiate careers undefeated in every category. The four-man senior class accumulated a 31-0 dual meet record with four Southeastern and NCAA trophies. The class put together 13 SEC titles and six NCAA titles to go along with 56 All-American honors.
"There is no other way that this senior class wanted to go out," co-captain Shanteau said. "It really hasn't hit me yet. When we won our first title three years ago, it was exciting and we never knew it was going to turn into this. Words can't really describe how I or my teammates feel right now."
Auburn sealed its victory in the second-to-last event when junior Steve Segerlin captured his first NCAA title on the 10-meter platform with a score of 469.30. The mark breaks his own AU record that he set earlier in the day during the preliminary round (428.40). It marked the fourth consecutive year that an Auburn diver claimed the platform national title. Matt Bricker won in 2005 while Ceasar Garcia won in 2003 and '04.
"That by far was my best score," Segerlin said. "It was so much fun. I've been struggling lately, keeping it together in finals on platform. I did a really good job of following coach's instruction. I just flew by the seat of my pants and let it ride."
"This is the best performance in Auburn history," Auburn head diving coach Jeff Shaffer said. "We talked about being focused and confident and having the courage to step up and most importantly to have fun. We had nothing to lose, our swimmers took care of business, and this was bonus points for the team."
Sixteen athletes garnered 49 total All-American honors, the fourth highest number awarded in Auburn history. Senior Doug Van Wie earned six All-American honors over the course of three days, the second most of any AU athletes which ties him with seven other swimmers that all earned six honors during a single season.
The Tigers took the lead for good after scoring 23 points in the 200 back, the second swimming event of the evening. At that point AU held the slight advantage 354.5-352.5 before scoring a grand total of 43 points in the 100 free to gain a nine-point lead and never let the gap close.
In the final race of the evening and with nothing to lose, the four-man team of Jakob Andkjaer (42.85), Cesar Cielo (42.02), Matt Targett (41.68) and Bovell (42.34) took it down to the wire with Arizona. After Targett put up the fastest 100 free split of the entire field, 41.68, the Tigers gained ground and pulled within a hands length. Bovell and Arizona's Adam Ritter took it down to the final touch as Ritter was successful with a .28 faster 100 split. Auburn's final time of 2:48.89 broke the school record held since the 2003 NCAA Championships. Bovell was part of the 2003 record team as well.
SEC Champion in the 100 free, Cielo had the second fastest time after the morning swim, 42.60, and bettered that mark by .02 to finish fourth. Teammate Tagett performed a 42.89 in the championship final to grab seventh. The Tigers continued to rack up team points in the consolation finals as Andkjaer won the heat with a lifetime best time of 42.84 and was followed by Bovell (43.39, 13th) and Bryan Lundquist (43.45, 14th). In all AU accumulated 43 points just from the 100 free.
"This was my best time ever in the 100 free, but I was expecting a little faster time," Cielo said. "It was a great result, especially since this is my first NCAAs. Overall my teammates and I did great in the event and I am glad that we were able to contribute and help Auburn to a national title."
Van Wie concluded his collegiate career at Auburn swimming the 200 backstroke. Van Wie entered today's final with the sixth fastest time from the morning prelim (1:42.84) and touched the pads in 1:42.99 to take seventh tonight. He was joined in the championship final by James Wike who had the third best and PR prelim time of 1:42.16 but was unable to duplicate the morning swim, finishing eighth with a time of 1:43.18.
It was almost déjà vu for Shanteau in the 200 breast, as the senior concluded his Auburn career in the same spot he was a year ago, eighth. Shanteau swam a .35 personal best time this morning of 1:56.56, to earn a spot in the A final and swam a 1:57.51 this evening.
Auburn added 18 points to its team total after the 200 fly, led by Rory Connell's eighth place finish with a time of 1:47.58. In consolation action, Mark Johnson took fourth to finish 12th overall, 1:45.91, and John Scott was 15th in the end, 1:46.72.
In the grueling 66-lap mile, newcomer Anthony Fleming, swimming heat three of four in a time final format, was just edged out of scoring contention as he finished 17th with a time of 15:06.58.
Auburn fans can relive the 2006 men's national championship on March 31 at 1:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2. The 2006 Auburn Men and Women's NCAA Swimming and Diving Champions will be honored at Toomer's Corner on Tuesday, April 4, at 6 p.m. Please join the Auburn team as they celebrate with the traditional rolling of Toomer's Corner. National champion t-shirts will be available for purchase beginning next week.
Men's NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships Day 3 Finals - Winner and Auburn Results
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