Jan. 25, 2013
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AUBURN - Twelve Auburn seniors will compete in their final home meet at the James E. Martin Aquatic Center on Saturday as the Florida Gators come to town to renew one of the biggest rivalries in college swimming & diving.
Admission is free to all Auburn home swimming & diving meets. Diving gets underway at 11 a.m., the Senior Day recognition will begin at approximately 11:40 a.m., and the swimming portion of the meet begins at noon. The first 100 fans will receive a free Auburn Swimming & Diving aluminum water bottle, courtesy of Auburn Bank.
Former Auburn swimmer and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Tyler McGill will be available from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. to meet with fans, sign autographs and take photos with his Olympic gold medal. McGill won gold in London as part of the United States 4x100 medley relay team.
Live results will be available through AuburnTigers.com, diving results can be found at Divemeets.com, and fans can follow @AuburnSwimming on Twitter for updates throughout the meet. Live video will also be available via Auburn All-Access.
"We're not looking at this as a first or last meet, we're looking at it as another chance to get better," Auburn head coach Brett Hawke said. "These guys have been focused from week to week, and that's showing up in their racing. They're staying focused on themselves, and that's important. This team is well-led. We have great captains on both sides, and we're looking forward to some more great racing."
Auburn's men (5-0, 4-0 SEC) and women (6-0, 4-0 SEC) are looking to wrap up an undefeated dual meet season for the first time in a few years. The women last went unbeaten in the regular season in 2010-11, when they finished 5-0. For the men, it has been seven years since the last undefeated dual meet season, a 10-0 campaign in 2006. That 2006 season was also the last time when both men's and women's squads were perfect in dual meets; the women were 9-0 that year.
"It definitely wasn't (a goal), but I think it would be a great thing to accomplish," Hawke said of the potential to finish unbeaten. "It's something you can be proud of. We certainly haven't had an undefeated season since I've been here on both sides, so it really goes to show the type of leadership we have in this program, especially from our seniors."
Five men and seven women will be competing for the final time as Tigers in their home pool. The men's seniors are Stuart Ferguson, Chandler Gerlach, Chris Kramer, Kyle Owens and Brandon Siemasko. Auburn's women's seniors are Katie Gardocki, Laura Johnson, Becca Jones, Micah Lawrence, Lauren Norberg, Lindsey Norberg and Hannah Riordan. Ferguson, Owens, Jones and Lawrence were named team captains prior to the season.
"They've been groomed well," Hawke said. "They were definitely ready for their leadership role. They're a mature group with a lot of experience among them; a lot of international experience, too. Just in terms of settling the team down and keeping their eyes on the team goals, it's helped a lot to have that type of leadership."
On the other side of the pool will be the Florida Gators, Auburn's biggest conference rival. It will be the 33rd all-time meeting between the two men's programs and the 31st meeting on the women's side. Florida leads the all-time men's series 17-15, but Auburn has won 11 of the past 13 meetings. Florida's women lead the series 17-13. The Gators won a pair of close meets last year in Gainesville, with the men falling by a narrow 153-147 margin and the women taking a 162-136 defeat.
The Gators are looking to remain unbeaten on the men's side as well. Florida enters Saturday's meet 5-0 in dual meet competition, 3-0 against SEC opponents. Florida's women are 2-3 overall, 1-2 in the SEC. Saturday won't be the final dual of the year for the Gators; they will face Tennessee next weekend at home.
"Florida is always good," Hawke said. "They're going to be ready to race. Gregg Troy is a great coach, and he always puts together a solid team. But we're focusing on ourselves and what we can do, and I think that's served us well throughout the year."
Auburn vs. Florida
Order of Events
11 a.m. - Diving (Men's 1M/Women's 3M)
11:40 a.m. - Senior Day recognition
Noon - Swimming Begins
--200 Medley Relay
--Diving Break: Women's 1M--
--Diving Break: Men's 3M--
--400 Freestyle Relay