Dec. 2, 2012
ATHENS, Ga. - Senior Micah Lawrence lowered her own school-record mark in the 200-yard breaststroke, and Auburn's relays earned two more NCAA automatic qualifying times as the swimming & diving team wrapped up a solid weekend of competition Sunday afternoon at the Georgia Fall Invitational.
"I'm really happy with today in general," Auburn Head Coach Brett Hawke said, "and the way they woke up this morning with their approach to swimming tough this morning and making it back. Pretty much everybody got a second swim tonight. And everybody got better at night. People were dropping time and racing tough and had smiles on their faces, which is always good to see at a mid-year meet. Just some really fast swims tonight."
Lawrence picked up her first individual NCAA `A' cut of the year with a 2:08.23 to finish third in an extremely fast 200 breaststroke final. Her time knocked more than seven-tenths off her previous school record of 2:08.99 from her freshman year of 2009, the last year swimmers were allowed to wear non-textile suits.
"It's incredible to have leadership like that," Hawke said. "She's the one who put her hand up for the 400 IM and said, `Look, this is a training meet for me, make me better.' Then she breaks the school record at the end of the meet. It just goes to show the attitude that she's adopted and the influence she's having on the rest of the team."
The men's and women's 400 freestyle relay teams wrapped up the night and the meet in a big way as well. On the men's side, the team of Alex Hancock, James Disney-May, Kyle Owens and Marcelo Chierighini blazed to a winning time of 2:51.46, out-touching the team from Cal by more than three seconds and recording Auburn's fourth men's NCAA `A' cut in a relay this week.
Just a few moments earlier, Auburn's women also hit the automatic qualifying mark. The team of Hannah Riordan, Emily Bos, Olivia Scott and Aubrey Peacock touched third in 3:16.07 to eclipse the NCAA `A' standard and earn the third auto qualifier for an Auburn women's relay in the meet.
"We certainly didn't come in here expecting A-cuts, but it's always nice to walk away with those," Hawke said. "It really gives them a confidence boost heading into Christmas training, so maybe that means we'll be able to get some more hard work out of them. The team's in a good position, and we're really happy."
Chierighini also got his second individual win of the weekend, claiming the top spot in the 100 freestyle final with a time of 42.73, moving him into the nation's top five times so far this year. James Disney-May had an equally impressive swim to win the consolation final in 43.61, and TJ Leon took third place in the C-final with a 45.16.
Katie Gardocki picked up Auburn's other win of the weekend, claiming the title in the 1,650-yard freestyle with a time of 16:18.77. That time gave Gardocki an NCAA `B' cut in the event, her second of the week after earning a provisional time in the 500 free on Friday.
Zane Grothe also picked up a fifth-place finish in the men's 1,650 free with a season-best time of 15:08.44 to secure an NCAA `B' cut time. Senior Chris Kramer took 16th place with a personal-best mark of 15:29.60, and newcomer Antton Haramboure barely missed a scoring position with an 18th-place time of 15:34.96.
Auburn's divers put together a strong final day on the tower as well. Sophomore Fraser McKean dove his way to a runner-up finish with a 367.40, and junior John Santeiu was third in 363.40. Freshman Andrew Laing picked up a top-eight finish as well, finishing sixth with a 280.70 in his first college platform meet, and sophomore Michael Beran was 14th (236.25).
On the women's side, Cinzia Calabretta got another third-place finish with a 257.25 on the tower, and freshman Carly Scheper finished seventh with a 222.35. Shanna Schuelein (209.70) was 10th, and Morgan Mullins was 14th (195.65).
Auburn's women's backstrokers picked up three `B' cuts in the 200 back finals. Sarah Reynolds won the C-final with a 1:56.39, and Aubrey Peacock was second in the race with a 1:57.75. Jillian Vitarius took seventh in the championship final with a 1:56.12.
The women's 100 free final saw Hannah Riordan (48.88) win the consolation final with Olivia Scott (49.03) just behind her, both earning B-cuts. Emily Bos (49.42), Becca Jones (49.81) and Haley Krakoski (49.90) went 1-2-3 in the C-final, all earning B-cuts as well.
Lauren Norberg (2:13.60) and Abby Duncan (2:13.90) earned `B' cuts in the women's 200 breast consolation, won by Norberg. Laura Johnson finished eighth in the championship heat with a 2:16.15, and Sarah Peterson won the C-final with a 2:16.82 while Lindsey Norberg (2:18.52) and Tryshia Centeno (2:19.41) had season-best times.
Freshman Alex Merritt posted the ninth-fastest 200 butterfly in Auburn history with a 1:59.04 in the C-final; she's the first Auburn women's swimmer to break the 2-minute mark in the event since the 2008 season. Megan Fonteno had a 2:01.83 in the race.
For the Auburn men, Kyle Owens earned a runner-up finish in the 200 backstroke championship final with a 1:42.36, earning a B-cut in the process. Jacob Siar (1:47.13), Brandon Siemasko (1:46.75) and Youssef Hammoud (1:49.53) all turned in strong swims as well.
Peter Haas dropped another tenth off his personal-best time in the 200 breast, earning a sixth-place finish with a 1:59.83 that was only .04 shy of an NCAA `B' cut. Stuart Ferguson finished seventh with a 2:00.09, and Jordan Jones (2:00.91) won the C-final with Chandler Gerlach (2:06.61) close behind.
Grothe came back later in the meet to earn a fourth-place finish in the 200 fly with a 1:46.45; his prelim time of 1:45.64 was a personal-best. Alex Hancock also eclipsed the NCAA `B' standard with a 1:47.61, and Kevin Behrens fell just shy of a B-cut with a 1:50.36.
During this meet, the majority of Auburn's unrested swimmers wore training suits during the preliminary swims and only put on the faster racing suits if they earned a swim in the evening's finals. Hawke said this was a motivational tool to encourage the team to work through adversity and fatigue.
"It's just a mental challenge," Hawke said. "Obviously the racing suits are faster, and to try to make it back racing against people who have those suits on is tough. So they have to find a way to make it happen, and the reward is they get to put the suit on at night and swim faster. I felt like as a whole they really responded well to that."
Auburn's swimmers have concluded their fall competition season and will now turn their attention to holiday training over the next month before returning to action Jan. 10 at home against Texas. The Auburn divers will have one more meet in 2012 as LSU, Alabama and Georgia Tech will visit the James E. Martin Aquatic Center for the Auburn Diving Invitational, which runs Dec. 17-19.
Auburn Swimming & Diving Results
Georgia Fall Invitational - Day 3 Finals
December 2, 2012
Gabrielsen Natatorium - Athens, Ga.
Auburn Top Performers - Men
1,650 Free: 5. Grothe (15:08.44); 200 Back: 2. Owens (1:42.36): 100 Free: 1. Chierighini (42.73); 200 Breast: 6. Haas (1:59.83); 200 Fly: 4. Grothe (1:46.45); Platform Diving: 2. McKean (367.40); 400 Free Relay: 1. Hancock, Disney-May, Owens, Chierighini (2:51.46).
Auburn Top Performances - Women
1,650 Free: 1. Gardocki (16:18.77); 200 Back: 7. Vitarius (1:56.12): 100 Free: 10. Scott (49.81); 200 Breast: 3. Lawrence (2:08.23); 200 Fly: 17. Merritt (1:59.04); Platform Diving: 3. Calabretta (257.25); 400 Free Relay: 3. Riordan, Bos, Scott, Peacock (3:16.07).