March 27, 2014
AUSTIN, Texas - Auburn opened up the first day of competition with a third-place finish in the 200 freestyle relay and seven Tigers picked up All-America honors at the 2014 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center.
"I thought we came out and performed really well," Auburn head coach Brett Hawke said. "I'm definitely disappointed to get disqualified in the 400 medley relay, but the guys came back tonight very focused and we did what we needed to do. Tomorrow is another day and they've definitely got their head on right, we'll be ready to go."
The team of Marcelo Chierighini, James Disney-May, Kyle Darmody and TJ Leon posted Auburn's fastest time of the year at 1:15.92 to take third in the event. Disney-May, Darmody and Leon all recorded splits of sub-19 seconds pushing the Tigers to the bronze.
"They did their job. It's always going to be tight in a race like that, but you know we got our best (time) of the season and I was proud of the result," Hawke said of the 200 free relay team.
Senior Zane Grothe took home his fourth straight All-America honor in the 500 free, placing 11th overall with a time of 4:16.10. The senior will also compete for the Tigers Friday in the 200 free and 800 free relay.
"These guys know it's all about points here and Zane was an example of that tonight," Hawke said. "He's just a great senior leader and he attacks his races to fight for every spot."
Chierighini took 10th overall in the 50 free with a second-place finish in the consolation final at 19.22 as the last Auburn individual competing during the opening night of finals.
In diving, junior Fraser McKean and senior John Santeiu IV picked up their first All-America selections of the meet in the 1-meter competition. The pair made the consolation final in the first diving event of the meet with McKean taking 12th overall with 351.90 points, while Santeiu took 13th scoring 349.20 points on the 1-meter board.
"I'm really proud of both John and Fraser. They did a great job of staying with the gameplan of staying within themselves and being consistent," Auburn diving coach Jeff Shaffer said of the pair. "To get two into the consolation finals in a real power event, speaks volumes for the hard work they've both put in this year."
McKean picked up his first career All-America honor, while Santeiu earned his third straight All-America selection on the 1-meter, marking the first time the Tigers have had a pair of divers finish in the top-16 in the event since 2008. The duo will compete once again on Friday, participating in the 3-meter springboard prelims.
The second day of competition begins on Friday at 11 a.m. CT with day two of prelims in Austin, Texas. You can watch on TexasSports.com and follow along with live results. Friday night's finals will be available on WatchESPN/ESPN3.
Auburn Swimming & Diving Results
NCAA Men's Championships - Day 1
March 27, 2014
Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center - Austin, Texas
Team Standings: 1. Texas 146, 2. Cal 145, 3. Florida 137, 4. Michigan 109, 5. Georgia 74, 7. Arizona 68.5, 7. Auburn 54, 8. USC 51, 9. Stanford 45, 10. Alabama 40.5.
200 Freestyle Relay
3. Chierighini, Disney-May, Darmody, Leon (1:15.92)
11. Zane Grothe (4:16.10)
10. Marcelo Chierighini (19.22)
Auburn All-Americans (7)
Marcelo Chierighini (2) - 200 FR, 50 free HM
Kyle Darmody - (1) - 200 FR
James Disney-May (1) - 200 FR
Zane Grothe (1) - 500 free HM
TJ Leon (1) - 200 FR
Fraser McKean (1) - 1-meter HM
John Santeiu IV - (1) - 1-meter HM
- Auburn's time of 1:15.92 is the fastest time in the event this season in the 200 freestyle relay. (Chierighini, Disney-May, Darmody, Leon).
- Zane Grothe swam a season best time of 4:15.12 in the 500 free during Thursday's prelims.
- With their finishes on the 1-meter springboard, Fraser McKean and John Santeiu IV became the first pair of Auburn divers to earn All-America honors in the event since 2008.