Nov. 24, 2013
AUBURN, Ala. - The Auburn men’s 400 free relay team swam the nation’s fastest time this year, senior Marcelo Chierighini and freshman Joe Patching earned NCAA automatic qualifying times along with the women’s 400 free relay squad to highlight the final day of action at the Auburn Invitational on Sunday at the James E. Martin Aquatics Center.
Auburn totaled four automatic qualifying times and 15 ‘B’ cut times on the final day of competition. The Tiger men edged Georgia for first place, 1,037-1,033.5, while the women scored 881.5 points to finish second behind the Bulldogs.
“I was proud of the way we swam today,” Auburn head coach Brett Hawke said. “The team really stepped up this afternoon and we got a lot of good racing in. It’s always good to see automatic qualifying times early in the year and I was proud of the way we closed the meet.”
The men’s and women’s 400 free relay teams wrapped up the meet in thrilling fashion by capturing NCAA ‘A’ cut times respectively. On the men’s side, the team of Chierighini, James Disney-May, Kyle Darmody and Arthur Mendes swam the nation’s top-time at 2:52.35, beating the next closest squad by 2.71 seconds to earn the ‘A’ qualifying time.
Just moments before, Auburn’s women’s team of Haley Krakoski, Emily Bos, Megan Fonteno and Allyx Purcell finished second at 3:15.32 to earn the second automatic relay time for women this season.
Chierighini continued with his outstanding performance by out-sprinting former Auburn swimmer Adam Brown to earn the win and his second individual ‘A’ cut of the season in the 100 freestyle championship final with the nation’s fastest time of 42.04.
“Marcelo is such a strong swimmer, the fastest swimmer in the NCAA and he’s got big goals for himself and a performance like that goes a really long way” Hawke said of the senior.
Disney-May also turned in a strong performance in the 100 free, improving on his ‘B’ cut time, finishing at 43.06 just .52 seconds shy of an NCAA automatic qualifying time. Darmody (43.77) and Mendes swam their best times of the year in consolation finals to post ‘B’ cuts. Alex Press’ 44.21 ‘B’ cut time was good enough for the victory in the ‘C’ final.
Joe Patching nearly picked up his second win of the weekend, but was out-touched at the wall by Georgia’s Tynan Stewart as the freshman posted the seventh-best 200 backstroke time in school history at 1:40.98 to earn his first NCAA ‘A’ cut of his young career. Jacob Siar captured a ‘B’ cut time in the 200 backstroke consolation final with a time of 1:45.38.
“Joe’s been training so well and we knew he was going to have a breakout performance for us,” Hawke said. “He’s only had a couple of days rest and this is really going to set him up well for SECs and he will be one of the leaders going into that meet.”
Aubrey Peacock win on Sunday in the women’s 200 backstroke by swimming a season-best time of 1:54.13 to start the afternoon session. Sophomore Jillian Vitarius cut off nearly four seconds from her season-best mark to finish second at 1:54.76.
Zane Grothe secured his fourth ‘B’ cut of the weekend with a third-place finish in the men’s 1,650-yard freestyle recording a season-best time of 15:01.94. Sam Parker took 16th place for the Tigers, clocking a 15:58.68.
In the men’s 200 breast, Michael Duderstadt cut off over five seconds from his previous best time of 2013 and swam 1:56.20 to finish third on Sunday. The freshman’s time ranks as the fifth-best mark in Auburn history. Forrest Davis finished in the seventh place at 2:01.98.
Alex Hancock trimmed over three seconds off his prelim time to turn in a ‘B’ cut time of 1:47.18 in a fifth place finish in the men’s 200. Mendes took the win with day’s fastest time of 1:46.02 in the consolation final.
In the women’s 200 fly, sophomore Alex Merritt placed second with a time of 1:57.34 to improve her personal-best time which now ranks seventh in school history. Fonteno finished in seventh at 2:00.56. Sarah Peterson earned a ‘B’ cut time by winning the consolation final swimming 2:00.26.
Haley Krakoski placed fifth for the Tigers in the women's 100 freestyle at 49.04, just a .01 seconds off her personal-best at Auburn. Bos continued to close in on her personal-best time in the women’s 100-yard freestyle and finished at 49.13, just .17 seconds off her top mark to place sixth. Megan Fonteno won the 100 free consolation final at 49.65 to capture a ‘B cut time.
Freshman Ashley Neidigh picked up a top-eight finish, placing fifth with a season-best mark of 16:43.38 in the women’s 1,650 freestyle.
In diving, John Santeiu rounded out the weekend with his second runner-up finish, posting NCAA Zone diving marks in the platform competition with a score of 387.95. Santieu finished first in Friday’s 3-meter competition and finished second in Saturday’s 1- meter. Fraser McKean dove his way to fourth place on Sunday with a score of 374.65, while Michael Beran placed sixth at 360.50. All three Tigers earned scores well within in the mark for NCAA Zone diving scores.
The Auburn women also put together a strong performance on the platform as Cinzia Calabretta finished as the runner-up at 266.60 just .55 points of a personal record on the tower. Shanna Schuelein performed well for the Tigers and closed out the event with a fourth-place finish in platform (248.00), while Carly Scheper posted a sixth-place performance at 243.10. All of the scores by the Tigers qualify as NCAA Zone diving scores.
For most of the Auburn Invitational, the Tigers swam unsuited and unrested meaning that swimmers used training suits in the prelim rounds before switching over to racing suits if they participated in finals.
The Auburn swimmers have concluded their fall slate in the pool and we set their sights on training over the holiday break before traveling to Austin, Texas to face the Longhorns on Jan. 9. Auburn’s divers have once more competition left in 2013, as the both men’s and women’s team will travel to Alabama for the Tuscaloosa Diving Invite which runs through Dec. 16-18.
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