Nov. 30, 2006
West Lafayette, Ind. -
Former Auburn swimmers Mark Gangloff and Margaret Hoelzer and current senior Hayley Peirsol captured individual victories on the first day of competition at the U.S. Open in West Lafayette, Ind. Gangloff and Hoezler each swam to meet records in the 100m breast and 200m back, respectively.
After breaking the U.S. Open record during the morning prelim (1:00.76), Gangloff was the clear favorite to claim the title. He did just that, swimming 1:01.07 in the evening. Hoelzer led the women's 200m back field from the start and out-distanced the field by more than two seconds, 2:10.95, to break the meet record and take the victory.
"That was my best in-season time by a lot," Hoelzer said. "I'm happy to see where I am right now and to be ahead of where I'd normally be. (The race) felt really good. I'm kind of trying some things with my stroke and race strategy, and it felt really good."
Defending NCAA Champion Peirsol, who had much success on the international circuit this past summer in the distance events, took the 400m free victory in 4:13.78.
"I'm really happy with that time for right now," Peirsol said. "It is in-season and to do so well any time in-season is a good confidence booster. I'm really excited to race long course, and there's a lot of really fast people at this meet, so it's exciting."
Other strong events for Auburn on day one of the U.S. Open hosted by Purdue were the women's 50m free and 200m IM. The Tigers had a combined five competitors in those two event's A final. Junior Kara Denby and former Tiger Jana Kolukanova tied for third in the 50m free with a time of 26.15.
Olympic gold medalist Kirsty Coventry took third in the 200m IM (2:13.96) and was followed by junior Emily Kukors (2:17.84) in sixth and junior Julie Stupp in seventh (2:20.09).
Newcomer Ava Ohlgren
won the B final of the 200m IM, touching the wall in 2:17.56 (which would have been good enough for fifth in the A final). Senior Adrienne Binder
was the winner of the 400m free B final (4:16.72) and former Tiger Eric Shanteau
was runner up in the 200m IM (2:00.32).
Also swimming in Thursday finals were Bryan Lundquist (23.65, 4th in B final), Scott Goodrich (23.87, 7th in B final) and Emily Kukors (27.20, 7th in B final) in the 50m free, Julianne McLane (2:16.02, 1st in C final) and Gisela Morales (2:19.02, 3rd in C final) in the 200m back and Abby MacGregor (1:12.93, 3rd in C final) in the 100m breast. Andrew Callahan (2:07.32, 3rd in C final) and Jeremy Knowles (2:08.59, 4th in C final) competed in the 200m IM.
In relay action, the Auburn women's 800m free relay `A'team (Ohlgren, Kukors, Peirsol, Binder) were runners-up with a times of 8:18.47. The women's `B' squad (Maggie Bird, Denby, Emile Ewing, Chelsea Haser) were 10th (8:35.11). On the men's side, Will Dove, Pascal Wollach, Joey Schneider and Jeff Smith put together an 11th place finish in the men's 800m free relay (7:49.16).
The 2006 U.S. Open resumes Friday morning at 9 a.m. ET with prelims in the men's and women's 100m backstroke, 200m freestyle, 100m butterfly and 400m IM.