Nov. 30, 2012
ATHENS, Ga. - Auburn posted the fastest men's 200 freestyle relay time in the country this year, and both the men's and women's 400 medley relays also posted NCAA automatic qualifying times to highlight first-day action at the Georgia Fall Invitational on Friday.
The Tigers earned three NCAA `A' cuts and 15 `B' cuts on a day in which most of the Auburn team was swimming without rest and contesting preliminaries without their "fast" racing suits.
"I'm really happy with the way the team approached finals tonight," Auburn Head Coach Brett Hawke said. "They raced tough this morning, but they knew their backs were against the wall without the suits on. I felt like the atmosphere was really good and the leadership was great. I mean, three A-cuts is just outstanding with little rest. It sets us up really well for the rest of the meet."
The team of Chierighini, James Disney-May, Kyle Owens and TJ Leon opened the session by posting an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 1:17.55 in the 200 free relay, the fastest time in the nation so far this year, to out-touch runner-up California by nearly a full second. Chierighini's leadoff split of 19.37 was the second-fastest 50 freestyle swim in the country this year, and a blistering third-leg split of 18.90 by Owens put the race out of reach. The women's 200 free relay earned a `B' cut as Hannah Riordan, Emily Bos, Haley Krakoski and Aubrey Peacock posted a 1:30.30 to take third place.
In the final events of the night, the women's top relay squad of Jillian Vitarius, Micah Lawrence, Olivia Scott and Riordan clocked an NCAA `A' cut time of 3:33.25 to take second place in the women's 400 medley relay final, while the `B' squad of Bos, Lauren Norberg, Megan Fonteno and Krakoski won their heat with a time of 3:36.14 to finish 7th overall.
The men's team of Owens, Stuart Ferguson, Alex Hancock and Chierighini followed that up with a 3:10.74, the third `A' cut of the night, to take the runner-up spot in the men's 400 MR final. Owens' leadoff split of 46.54 in the 100 backstroke was the second-fastest 100 back time in the country so far this year.
Chierighini claimed another win in the session, posting a 19.50 to take top honors in the 50 freestyle final. Disney-May earned a win in the consolation final with a season-best 20.15, and Kyle Owens (20.27) and TJ Leon (20.56) took second and fourth, respectively, in the C-final.
"It's incredible how good Marcelo is swimming right now," Hawke said. "He's training at a level unlike anything I've ever seen. He's getting more in the league of a Cesar Cielo, which is scary, but it's nice. He's putting himself in a new category."
Zane Grothe shaved six seconds off his preliminary time to win the consolation final of the men's 500 freestyle, splitting a 24.27 on his final 50 yards to track down Cal's Adam Hinshaw and touch first in a winning time of 4:18.39 for an NCAA `B' cut. After the championship final, Grothe's time ranked as the eighth-fastest in the nation so far this year. Sophomore Tommy McKee finished eighth in the championship final with a time of 4:25.32; his time of 4:24.09 in the morning preliminaries was a personal-best.
Katie Gardocki won the C-final of the 500 free, posting an NCAA `B' cut time of 4:44.73 to knock a little more than five seconds off her season-best coming into the meet.
Junior Olivia Scott and senior Micah Lawrence posted a pair of PRs and NCAA `B' cut times in the 200 IM to win their respective races. Scott claimed top honors in the consolation final with a 1:58.63, the eighth-fastest time in Auburn history, and Lawrence posted a 1:59.15 - the 10th-fastest all-time at Auburn - to win the C-final.
In the men's 200 IM, Owens clocked an NCAA provisional time of 1:48.04 to take sixth in the championship final, and Alex Hancock went 1:49.03 to take a third-place finish in the consolation final.
Day two of the Georgia Fall Invitational gets underway at 9:30 a.m. ET (8:30 a.m. CT) Saturday with preliminaries in the 400 IM, 100 back, 200 free, 100 breast and 100 fly. Auburn's divers will also join the competition tomorrow with men's 3-meter and women's 1-meter events. Live results are available via GeorgiaDogs.com, and fans can follow @AuburnSwimming on Twitter for updates from the pool.
Auburn Swimming & Diving Results
Georgia Fall Invitational - Day 1 Finals
November 30, 2012
Gabrielsen Natatorium - Athens, Ga.
Men's Top Performers:
200 Free Relay: 1. Chierighini, Disney-May, Owens, Leon (1:17.55); 500 Free: 9. Grothe (4:18.39); 200 IM: 6. Owens (1:48.04); 50 Free: 1. Chierighini (19.50); 400 Medley Relay: 2. Owens, Ferguson, Hancock, Chierighini (3:10.74)
Women's Top Performers
200 Free Relay: 3. Riordan, Bos, Krakoski, Peacock (1:30.30); 500 Free: 17. Gardocki (4:44.73); 200 IM: 9. Scott (1:58.63); 50 Free: 9. Bos (22.90); 400 Medley Relay: 2. Vitarius, Lawrence, Scott, Riordan (3:33.25)