Cielo Breaks 100 Freestyle Record; Auburn Finishes Fifth At NCAA Championships

AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM Cesar Cielo swam a 40.92 in the 100 free, setting new Auburn, NCAA and U.S. Open records
Cesar Cielo swam a 40.92 in the 100 free, setting new Auburn, NCAA and U.S. Open records

March 30, 2008

Complete Official Results
Day 3 Results
All-America and NCAA Champions

FEDERAL WAY, Wash. - For the third day in a row, Auburn junior Cesar Cielo stepped out of the competition pool at the 2008 NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships after setting new Auburn, NCAA and U.S. Open records.

On Friday night, Cielo set a new records in the 50 freestyle, clocking an 18.47, shattering his old record of 18.69 by more than two tenths of a second. On Saturday night, Cielo swam the freestyle leg on the Auburn 200 medley relay team that broke its own Auburn, NCAA and U.S. Open records with a time of 1:23.24.

Saturday night would be no different as Cielo stepped up to the blocks and set a new Auburn, NCAA and U.S. Open record in the 100 freestyle, becoming the first man to ever swim the event in less than 41 seconds as he touched in at 40.92.

"I had a feeling this morning when I broke the record that I could go under 41," said Cielo. "But, it is amazing, it really surprised me. I just don't know what to say, it is really amazing. I'm really happy and I want to thank my coach for pushing me hard the whole season."

The 100 free title is Cielo's 10th NCAA title of his career, setting a new Auburn record. Auburn sprints coach Brett Hawke formerly held the record with nine NCAA titles in his career from 1997-99.

The 100 free title was also the second of Cielo's career in the event as he defended his win from last season. The only other Auburn swimmer to ever win two 100 free titles was Rowdy Gaines in 1980 and 1981.

While the win was the fourth for Auburn in the meet, it did not add up to a sixth-straight NCAA team title as Arizona won the meet with 500.5 points. Auburn finished fifth in the meet with 316 points, its lowest finish since the team came in seventh in 2001.



Texas followed Arizona in second place with 406 points with Stanford trailing in third with 344 points. California, coached by former Auburn assistant coach Dave Durden, placed fourth with 332.5 points.

"We came here for something different than we achieved," said head coach Richard Quick. "You have to take your hat off to Arizona and the other teams ahead of us, they did a great job. We just fell a little bit short of what I perceived of our full potential this week."

Quick was very impressed with the performance of Cielo and his three NCAA titles and two NCAA records during the three-day meet.

"Cesar was extraordinary and is just one of the greatest swimmers of all-time," said Quick. "It is going to be a long time before we see another like him. It has been an unbelievable honor to be associated with such a great, great swimmer and a great guy."

Following Cielo in the 100 free championship final was senior Alexei Puninski, finishing sixth with a time of 42.53. Puninski clocked a 42.42 in preliminaries, setting a new personal best that ranks fourth all-time at Auburn.

Freshman Adam Klein followed Auburn's dynamic duo in the 200 breast, the Tigers' lone qualifier in the event. Klein clocked a time of 1:58.17, finishing 15th overall in the event.

In the 200 butterfly, Auburn's Tyler McGill and Andrew Mitchell qualified for the consolation finals. McGill led the way by winning the heat with a time of 1:43.15 - the second fastest time all-time at Auburn in the event.

While he finished ninth overall with the consolation win, McGill's time was fast enough to finish fifth in the championship final.

"It is something that I should have done in the morning, but I did not go hard enough," said McGill. "I did a little re-evaluation during the break this afternoon that really helped for tonight and it is a good stepping-stone for next year. I should have been in the final heat, but you take what you get and I'm really glad that I swam my best time."

Mitchell followed McGill in the consolation final, finishing 13th overall in the event with a time of 1:44.78. Mitchell's time of 1:44.29 in the preliminaries is fast enough for sixth all-time at Auburn.

In the platform diving contest, Ohio State's Sean Moore broke a five-year Auburn run as champion, scoring a 478.20 to win the title.

Auburn's Dan Mazzaferro finished fifth with a score of 440.55 while Kelly Marx finished second in the consolation final to finish 10th overall with a 367.90.

"What a great meet, this was one of the toughest contests I have seen in a long time," said head diving coach Jeff Shaffer. "I told Dan in the care on the way over here that it would probably take a 450 to win and then Sean Moore lights it up with a 478. I'm really proud of both Dan and Kelly, they really had a great meet this week."

Auburn closed out the night by taking second place in the 400 freestyle relay with a time of 2:49.48, barely getting edged out by Arizona, who clocked a 2:49.01.

Cielo led off the relay, touching in with a time of 41.12, tying his record-breaking time from the morning session. He now owns the top five fastest times all-time in the 100 free. He was followed in the relay by Puninski (41.96), freshman Kohlton Norys (42.69) and sophomore Steve Scheren (43.71).

Auburn's fifth-place finish breaks a five-year run of NCAA titles. The title is the first ever for Arizona.

2008 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships
Auburn Finishes and Champions

1650-Yard Freestyle
1 - Sebastien Rouault (Georgia) - 14:26.86
23 - Will Dove - 15:20.33
26 - Robert Looney - 15:23.30

200-Yard Backstroke
1 - Patrick Schirk (Pennsylvania State) - 1:40.22

100-Yard Freestyle
1 - Cesar Cielo - 40.92
6 - Alexei Puninski - 42.53

200-Yard Breaststroke
1 - Paul Kornfeld (Stanford) - 1:53.11
15 - Adam Klein - 1:58.17

200-Yard Butterfly
1 - Gil Stovall (Georgia) - 1:41.33
10 - Tyler McGill - 1:43.15
13 - Andrew Mitchell - 1:44.78

Platform Diving
1 - Sean Moore (Ohio State) - 478.20
5 - Dan Mazzaferro - 440.55
10 - Kelly Marx - 367.90

400-Yard Freestyle Relay
1 - Arizona (Subirats, Townsend, Nilo, Greenshields) - 1:49.01
2 - Cielo (41.12), Puninski (41.96), Norys (42.69), Scheren (43.71) - 2:49.48