ATHENS, Ga. - Auburn got victories from senior Drew Modrov and junior Kyle Owens along with a pair of relay wins to highlight the first day of finals at the Georgia Fall Invitational, which began Friday at UGA's Gabrielsen Natatorium.
"We had some good swimming," Auburn head coach Brett Hawke said. "The guys were pretty tired coming into the meet. It's kind of like a dual-meet atmosphere with a couple of extra teams here, and we had some pretty good racing. I was pretty happy overall. Around the walls, I think we can clean up a little bit, but in terms of racing and competitiveness, I was really happy with the team."
Owens put together a fantastic swim in the men's 200-yard individual medley to earn a victory in a time of 1:45.04, dropping more than a second and a half off his time in the prelims. Though the top three or four swimmers were about even after the butterfly leg, he pulled away from the field in the backstroke and led by more than two seconds at the 100-yard mark. From there, he was never seriously threatened as he cruised to his third individual victory of the season.
Modrov, the top qualifier in the 50 freestyle morning prelims with a 19.67, won the championship final in a time of 19.82 with teammate James Disney-May right behind in second place with a career-best 19.88. While Shayne Fleming of California jumped up to take third place, senior Karl Krug was fourth in 20.03 and Marcelo Chierighini took fifth in 20.06. Both Krug and Chierighini went sub-20 in the morning prelims. Chris Manning rounded out the Auburn quintet in the championship final with a seventh-place time of 20.24.
TJ Leon took fourth place in the consolation final with a 20.31 with Max Murphy in sixth with a 20.63. Piankhi Gibson matched his prelim time exactly with a 21.12 in the C-final to finish sixth in that heat.
The night concluded on a high note as both 400-yard medley relay teams turned in victories. The Auburn women led off with a victory in their race as the team of Emily Bos, Lauren Norberg, Olivia Scott and Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace clocked an NCAA `B' cut time of 3:32.69 to outpace a hard-charging Georgia team for the win. Auburn's men then followed suit with a win of their own as Owens, Ferguson, Chierighini and Disney-May put together a 3:11.33 to win by more than a second over the runners-up from Cal.
In the women's 50 free, Vanderpool-Wallace posted a runner-up finish with a time of 22.06 after a rough start to the race; however, her preliminary time of 21.77 was an NCAA `A' cut time, guaranteeing her a spot in the 2012 NCAA Championships. Hannah Riordan was seventh in 22.89. Olivia Scott (22.84), Emily Bos (22.98) and Haley Krakoski (23.14) were second, fifth and seventh, respectively, in the consolation final, and Megan Fonteno (23.19) and Lindsey Norberg (23.86) posted strong finishes in the bonus final as well.
Several Auburn underclassmen turned in strong performances as well. Freshman Sarah Peterson put together a stellar swim in the bonus final of the women's 200 IM, earning Auburn's first NCAA `B' cut time of the year in the event with a personal-best 2:00.44, cutting nearly two full seconds off her prelim time to win her heat. Senior Kelsey Winters was eighth in the B-final with a 2:03.24, and Laura Johnson finished eighth in the C-final in 2:03.68.
In the men's 500 free final, sophomore Zane Grothe held off a late charge from a pair of his competitors to take second place with a season-best 4:18.68, lowering his NCAA `B' cut time. Freshman Sam Parker took fifth place in the B-final with a 4:26.08, and Chris Kramer took sixth in the C-final with a 4:30.41.
Junior Katie Gardocki shaved almost a full second off her preliminary time, posting a 4:43.81 in the women's 500 free B-final to earn a sixth-place finish in her heat and improve her NCAA `B' cut time to within two seconds of her personal best.
The 200 freestyle relay teams started off the meet with a pair of runner-up finishes. The women's team of Riordan, Krakoski, Bos and Vanderpool-Wallace improved their season-best time with a 1:29.29, finishing just .16 second behind the team from Cal. It was a similar result for the Tiger men as Modrov, Krug, Leon and Chierighini were just .11 behind Cal's top relay with a 1:18.39.
The Tigers lead the men's scoring with 279 points, followed by Georgia (238) and Indiana (177). Georgia leads the women's meet with 335 points; the Bulldogs were the only team to have both swimmers and divers competing Friday. The Auburn women are in fifth place with 156 points. Auburn's divers did not compete Friday; they will join the competition beginning with Saturday's events.
The second day of competition begins with preliminaries at 9:30 a.m. ET (8:30 a.m. CT) Saturday with competition in the 400 IM, 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle, 100 breaststroke and 100 backstroke. Diving prelims will follow with the women's 3-meter and men's 1-meter events, and the teams will contest the 200 medley relay and 800 freestyle relay in Saturday's finals, which begin at 5 p.m. (4 p.m. CT). Live results for swimming are available through GeorgiaDogs.com, diving scoring can be found at DiveMeets.com, and updates throughout the day are available by following @AuburnSwimming on Twitter.
Auburn Swimming & Diving Results
Friday, December 2, 2011
Georgia Fall Invitational - Gabrielsen Natatorium - Athens, Ga.
Men's Team Scores: 1. Auburn (279), 2. Georgia (238), 3. Indiana (177), 4. California (173), 5. Virginia (159), 6. Florida (57 - divers only), 7. Maryland (38 - divers only)