Auburn men win 400 freestyle relay, finish sixth at NCAA Championships
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AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM

March 29, 2014

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AUSTIN, Texas - Auburn's 400 freestyle relay capped off the 2014 NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships by winning the final event of the meet on Saturday at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center.

The team of Marcelo Chierighini, James Disney-May, Arthur Mendes and Kyle Darmody cruised to the win with the second-fastest time of the year to take gold at 2:48.33, setting a pool record.

The time by Auburn was over a second faster than the rest of the field as Darmody's anchor split of 41.4 catapulted the Tigers into the lead for the final 100 yards. The win for the Tigers marked their first title in the 400 free relay at the NCAA meet since 2009, 8th overall in school history.

On the final day of competition, Auburn climbed up two spots to finish sixth with 230 points. California won the NCAA Championship with 468.5 points to best Texas' 417.5. Florida finished third with 387, fourth was Michigan with 310 points and Georgia took fifth with 259.

"It's really nice to finish the meet off with a win and I'm really proud of the guys for the way they fought for the last three days, but especially today," Auburn head coach Brett Hawke said. "We really showed what we were made of today. They've work really hard for this and they fully deserve it. I'm happy to see them go out as champions (in the 400 free relay)."

"Moving up two spots in the rankings is an accomplishment, but we want more," Hawke said.

Chierighini earned his third straight silver in the 100 free, touching in at 41.97, behind Louisville's Joao De Lucca, who won the event at 41.70. Chierighini set the pool record at the Lee and Joe Jamail Swimming Center early in the day with a time of 41.52 in the prelims, which ranks as the eighth-best swim all-time in the 100 free in short-course yards.

Darmody claimed sixth overall with a 42.51 in the championship final, while Disney-May was 14th overall at 42.84 in the B-final in the 100 free.

"Marcelo and James will go down as two of the finest swimmers in Auburn history. I'm proud of what they've accomplished and for what they've meant to this team," Hawke said of the two senior sprinters.

Senior Zane Grothe picked up a top-five finish for the Tigers, taking fifth overall in the 1,650 freestyle at 14:45.55. Grothe finished second in his heat of timed finals, earning his third first team All-America selection of his career in the mile.

"Zane really set the tone for us at the beginning of the session, he's a tough competitor. He clawed up the rankings and to finish his career of like that was a huge accomplishment," Hawke said of Grothe.

Freshman Joe Patching continued to turn in his best times in the 200 back, finishing 11th overall and third in the B-final with a time of 1:40.67. Patching's time is the sixth-best in school history, besting his morning swim of 1:40.82.

For the second straight day, John Santeiu IV barely missed making an appearance in the championship final, this time on platform, but the senior rebounded with a career best score of 437.70 in the consolation final to take ninth overall. Santeiu finishes his career at Auburn with six All-America honors and two SEC titles.

"John did a great job, but unfortunately for the second straight day he was fractions of a point out of diving at night," Auburn diving coach Jeff Shaffer said. "He came back and put the prelim behind and came out with a personal best in his final collegiate event, that is commendable to him. What a career and what a great contribution he has been to our program these last four years."

Junior Fraser McKean snuck into the B-final on tower with a pair of strong final dives and put together a solid list in consolation final with a score of 358.55 to place 13th overall.

Sophomore Arthur Mendes scored his first individual points in his young career for the Tigers with a sixth-place finish (14th overall) in the consolation final of 200 fly with a time of 1:44.51.

For the latest updates on Auburn Swimming and Diving, follow the Tigers on Twitter, @AuburnSwimming or like Auburn Swimming and Diving on Facebook.

Auburn Swimming & Diving Results
NCAA Men's Championships - Day 3 Finals
March 29, 2014
Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center - Austin, Texas

Team Standings (Top 10):
1. California - 468.5
2. Texas - 417.5
3. Florida - 387
4. Michigan - 310
5. Georgia - 259
6. Auburn - 230
7. Arizona - 198.5
8. USC - 182
9. Stanford - 155
10. Indiana -141

1,650 Freestyle
5. Zane Grothe (14:45.55)

200 Backstroke
11. Joe Patching (1:40.67)

100 Freestyle
2. Marcelo Chierighini (41.97)
6. Kyle Darmody (42.51)
14. James Disney-May (42.84)

200 Butterfly
14. Arthur Mendes (1:44.51)

Platform Diving
9. John Santeiu (437.70) (PR)
13. Fraser McKean (358.55)

400 Freestyle Relay
1. Chierighini, Disney-May, Mendes , Darmody (2:48.33)

Auburn All-Americans (31)
Marcelo Chierighini (5) - 200 free relay, 50 free HM, 200 medley relay, 100 free, 400 free relay
Kyle Darmody - (5) - 200 free relay, 200 medley relay, 800 free relay, 100 free, 400 free relay
James Disney-May (4) - 200 free relay, 800 free relay, 100 free HM, 400 free relay
Michael Duderstadt (2) - 200 medley relay HM, 100 breast HM
Zane Grothe (3) - 500 free HM, 800 free relay, 1,650 free
Alex Hancock (1) - 400 free relay
TJ Leon (1) - 200 free relay
Fraser McKean (2) - 1-meter HM, Platform HM
Arthur Mendes (3) - 800 free relay, 200 fly HM, 400 free relay
Joe Patching (2) - 200 medley relay, 100 back
John Santeiu IV - (3) - 1-meter HM, 3-meter HM, Platform HM

Auburn Notes

  • Auburn senior diver John Santeiu set a personal record with a score of 437.70 in the consolation final of platform diving. The senior also set a personal record on the 3-meter during Friday's consolation final.
  • Marcelo Chierighini's 22 All-America honors is tied for second-most in program history. Only George Bovell (25) has more, while Chierighini is tied with former Tigers Brock Newman (22) and Rowdy Gaines (22) for the second-most selections.
  • Chierighini's prelim time of 41.52 in the 100 free set the pool record at the Lee and Joe Jamil Texas Swimming Center. The previous record was held by Olympian and former Texas swimmer Ian Crocker (41.68).
  • James Disney-May's time of 42.50 in the 100 free prelims was a personal record. His previous best was 43.06 in at last year's NCAA Championships.
  • Kyle Darmody's five All-American selections are tied for the second-most in school history by a freshman. Fred Bousquet's seven All-America selections at 2003 NCAA Championships in Austin, Texas is the most by a newcomer at the meet.
  • Auburn's NCAA title in the 400 freestyle relay was its eighth overall, first since 2009. The time by the Tigers set the pool record at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center.