Oct. 12, 2013
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The Auburn women’s swimming and diving team remained unbeaten Saturday at the Notre Dame Tri-Meet after sweeping 18th-ranked Notre Dame and 13th-ranked Indiana by scores of 180-120 each. The Tigers carried over their strong performance at Vanderbilt two weeks ago and continued to get strong performances from their freshmen, gaining six event wins, two by freshman Allyx Purcell.
Purcell claimed victory in the 50 free (22.87) and 100 free (50.30), putting her just a tenth of a second off an NCAA ‘B’ cut time in the 50 free and one full second off the ‘B’ time in the 100 free. Purcell’s win in the 50 free was also the second of Auburn’s 1-2-3 finishes as seniors Haley Krakowski (23.56) and Aubrey Peacock (23.76) finished a second behind.
“Our women improved greatly from their first meet a few weeks ago,” Auburn head coach Brett Hawke said. “Emily Bos and Allyx Purcell were standouts today, but there were plenty of bright spots. That was what we wanted to do as a coaching staff in this meet and that was to improve on what we did at Vanderbilt and I thought we did that.”
As for the men, the Tigers split their duals, beating the Irish, 153-147, and falling to defending national champion, Michigan, 195-103. In their first competition of the 2013-14 season, Auburn tallied two event wins, claiming first in the 50 free and 200 back. Senior Marcelo Chierighini won the fastest race of the day, touching the wall in 19.93 in the 50 free, while freshman Joe Patching won the 200 back (1:45.85) by an almost full second.
“Today was a little of a struggle for the men,” Hawke said. “They weren’t quite ready in the first half of the meet, so we talked during the break and they picked up the pace the rest of the way. Our guys performed much better in the second half of competition and did what we needed to do to beat Notre Dame and put up some good races against a great Michigan team.”
The women kicked the meet off on the right foot after winning the 200 medley relay to claim the first 11 points for the Tigers. The team of Bos, sophomore Annie Lazor, junior Megan Fonteno and Purcell clocked a 1:41.97 in the race to take their first lead that would never be relinquished.
Trying to build off her two wins from a meet ago, freshman Ashley Neidigh took a runner-up finish in the 1,000 free after a time of 10:00.51. Her time was still almost two seconds faster from her previous swim for a season-best.
Continuing with the freshmen surge from the women’s team, freshman MaryElizabeth Warhol earned her second top-three individual finish of her career after taking third-place in the 200 free (1:51.76), a tenth of a second faster than her previous best.
In the 100 back, Bos continued to perform well in her best event, taking home the prize with a time of 54.07, her first appearance in the 100 back this season. The win for Auburn was part of a 1-2-3 finish in the event as fellow senior Aubrey Peacock (55.25) and sophomore Sarah Reynolds (56.52) made it a Tiger sweep.
The Auburn women then took two of the three top spots in the 200 butterfly as junior Sarah Peterson (2nd, 2:03.14) and sophomore Alexandria Merritt (3rd, 2:03.30) gave the Orange and Blue seven more points towards the two dual wins.
Reynolds completed the final win for the Tigers on the day after winning the 200 back with a time of 2:00.35, just a little more than a second off the NCAA ‘B’ cut time. The individual win was the first for Reynolds in the young year.
As for the men, seniors James Disney-May, Chierighini and freshmen Kyle Darmody and Michael Duderstadt earned a runner-up finish in the 200 medley relay (1:29.84), the Tigers first race of the year. However, that would be the last top-three finish in any race for Auburn until Patching earned a runner-up finish in the 100 back (48.86).
Chierighini continued his strong start to the season in his second event of the day, the 100 freestyle. The senior took home second-place (44.36), just missing an NCAA ‘B’ cut time.
Today’s events were also the first day of competition for the Auburn diving team this year. Junior Morgan Mullins was Auburn’s high women’s scorer of the day, taking fourth-place in the 1-meter (258.50)) and third-place in the 3-meter (280.20), en route to earning NCAA Zone qualifying scores. Senior John Santieu was the high scorer for the Auburn men with runner-up finishes in both the 1-meter (324.30) and 3-meter (344.70).
“Morgan made some great improvements today,” Auburn head diving coach Jeff Shaffer said. “The whole meet was a great first outing for the team. They’re starting to know what they need to do and where the focus needs to be heading forward.”
Auburn will have short rest before its next meet as it will travel to Charlotte, N.C. to take on Queens University on Oct. 25. Both the men and women will make the trip in two weeks as the women will be looking to stay perfect in the dual season. The meet is scheduled to last one day and will start at 4 p.m.