Dec. 1, 2007
ATLANTA - Auburn tallied seven medals and 10 NCAA automatic qualifying times Saturday in the final day of the Short Course National Championships.
The Short Course Championships is the last meet for the Tigers before it takes a break in December from competition.
Head coach Richard Quick was pleased with what he saw out of his teams over the week, but also found some areas of concern that need to be addressed.
"I think it was a solid performance by our team this week and it pointed out some weaknesses, particularly in the 200 back and 200 breast, that we need to take care of in the coming months," said Quick. "But, I was encouraged by our 1650 swims on both sides and I thought our 100 free was solid. In the 200 back, I thought the women were very, very strong, but the men need to improve in that area."
Quick said that competing in a high-caliber meet such as the Short Course Championships gives the athletes opportunities to swim against the best competition in the world while allowing the staff to take a look at some of their finer points.
"What a competition like this does is identify what we need to do to improve our performances," said Quick. "I'm pleased with the training we've had in place going into the December break, but we need to address some specific things such as starts, turns and our underwater work, in particular."
Former Tigers Margaret Hoelzer and Eric Shanteau led the way, earning gold medals in the 200 backstroke and 200 breaststroke, respectively. Hoelzer won the event in 1:51.68 while Shanteau won the 200 breast in 1:54.94.
Earning Silver medals was former Auburn swimmer Mark Gangloff in the 200 breast, finishing behind Shanteau with a time of 1:56.26, and the AU women's 400 free relay team.
The women's relay team posted an "A" cut time of 3:16.03, finishing a hundredth of a second behind the California relay team. Ava Ohlgren led the Tigers with an "A" cut leadoff split of 49.06 and was followed by Emile Ewing, Melissa Marik and Kara Denby.
Auburn's men's 400 free relay team answered with a silver medal of their own, finishing second with a "B" cut time of 2:56.50. Alexei Puninski led off with a "B" cut 43.20 and was followed by Scott Goodrich, Luke Weniger and Michael Silva.
Earning bronze medals were Ohlgren in the 100 free and Maggie Bird in the 1,650 free. Ohlgren posted an "A" cut time of 48.59 while Bird finished with an "A" cut 16:07.93.
In the women's 100 free, Denby also made the "A" Final, finishing fifth with an "A" cut 48.91. Kukors finished eighth in the B Final with a 50.21 while Caitlin Geary finished third in the C Final with a 49.88. Kukors' and Geary's times are both NCAA provisional times.
Geary also posted a top finish in the 1,650 free, finishing fifth behind Bird with an "A" cut time of 16:13.41. Chelsea Haser was 12th with a "B" cut time of 16:32.70.
The 200 back final was full of Tigers as Melissa Marik followed Hoelzer in fourth with an "A" cut time of 1:56.59. Erica Meissner was behind her in sixth with an "A" cut 1:56.65 while Julianne McLane was seventh with a "B" cut 1:57.41.
Ohlgren picked up another "A" cut in the 200 fly as she finished second with a time of 1:56.85. Kukors posted an "A" cut of her own in the event as she won the C Final with a 1:57.08.
For the men, Auburn was well represented in the 100 free with former Tiger Bryan Lundquist leading the way, finishing fourth in 42.87. Fred Bousquet was second in the B Final with a time of 42.73 and was trailed by Puninski as he finished third with a "B" cut 43.51. Goodrich rounded out the Final, finishing seventh with a time of 43.93.
Tyler McGill led the Tigers in the 200 fly, finishing sixth with a "B" cut time of 1:46.38. Former Tiger Jeremy Knowles finished second in the B Final with a time of 1:45.44, followed by Jordan Anderson (1:49.35) and Looney (1:50.22) finishing seventh and eighth , respectively, in the C Final.
The Tigers return to action Dec. 29 - Jan. 4, 2008 with their Holiday Training Trip to Fort Peirce, Fla. Auburn will take on Indian River Junior College on Jan. 2 as part of the trip.