March 13, 2013
AUBURN - A total of 10 swimmers and one diver will represent the Auburn Tigers at the 2013 NCAA Men's Swimming & Diving Championships as the NCAA released the official psych sheet and invite list Wednesday.
Seniors Kyle Owens and Stuart Ferguson, juniors Marcelo Chierighini, James Disney-May and Zane Grothe, and freshmen Arthur Mendes and Jordan Jones earned invitations to the three-day event, which runs March 28-30 in Indianapolis. The seven Auburn swimmers were invited to the meet based on times achieved during the regular season, and junior diver John Santeiu qualified for the championships by winning the 3-meter springboard event at this week's NCAA Zone B Diving meet in Knoxville, Tenn. The Tigers will also send three relay alternates to the meet - junior TJ Leon and sophomores Tommy McKee and Alex Hancock - for a total of 11 athletes.
Auburn will have at least one entry in each of the 21 events on the championship program. Three Tigers were invited after achieving NCAA automatic qualifying times, or `A' cuts, during the season. The top 28 or 29 swimmers in each event throughout the country received invitations to the championships.
Chierighini leads the way for Auburn with the nation's fastest time in the 50-yard freestyle (18.85), the second-fastest national time in the 100 freestyle (41.60) and will be among the favorites in both events after capturing the Southeastern Conference crowns in both events. The Sao Paulo, Brazil, native will also swim in the 100 butterfly.
Owens will look to make the most of his final collegiate meet as he enters as the top seed in the 200 backstroke with a school-record time of 1:39.69. The native of Johnson City, Tenn., won the SEC title in both that event and the 100 back, where he is seeded second with a top time of 45.60. Owens also had an `A' cut in the 200 individual medley, earning the ninth overall seed with a 1:43.45.
Grothe, a junior distance specialist from Boulder City, Nev., is among the top-10 seeds in all three of his invited events. After winning Auburn's second-ever SEC title in the 1,650 freestyle, he is seeded third in the mile with a time of 14:41.45. Grothe is the No. 8 seed in the 500 free with a 4:15.44 - just .02 shy of his own school record - and he is seeded ninth in the 200 free with a 1:34.14, the second-fastest time in Auburn history.
Disney-May, one of Auburn's two 2012 Olympians along with Chierighini, earned an invitation in the 50 free with a 19.60 to tie for the 20th-fastest in the country this year. He will also compete in the 200 free, where he is seeded 35th, and the 100 free. And Ferguson earned his third invitation to the meet with the 27th-ranked time in the 100 breaststroke, clocking a top time this season of 53.30. Ferguson will also swim the 200 breast.
Mendes made an immediate impact in the butterfly events after joining the team in January, advancing to the championship final at the SEC Championships in both the 100 and 200 fly. He will swim both at NCAAs after earning an invitation in the 100 fly, where he is seeded 26th with a time of 46.69. Mendes is also entered in the 100 free. And Jones will also make his first NCAA appearance after earning an invite in the 400 IM, where his time of 3:46.24 ranks 24th in the field. Jones is also entered in the 500 free.
All five of Auburn's relays are qualified for the meet as well. The Tigers are the top seed in the 200 freestyle relay with an SEC Championship-winning time of 1:16.23, and they are seeded second in both the 400 free relay (2:50.12) and 200 medley relay (1:24.11). The 400 medley relay is seeded third with a 3:05.92, and the 800 free relay enters as the 12th seed (6:22.22). Hancock and McKee will be vital parts of the 800 free relay, while Leon could be a contributor to the 200 and 400 free relays.
Auburn Swimmers & Divers Invited to NCAA Men's Championships
Marcelo Chierighini - 50 free, 100 free, 100 fly
James Disney-May - 50 free, 100 free, 200 free
Stuart Ferguson - 100 breast, 200 breast
Zane Grothe - 200 free, 500 free, 1650 free
Jordan Jones - 500 free, 400 IM
Arthur Mendes - 100 fly, 200 fly, 100 free
Kyle Owens - 100 back, 200 back, 200 IM
John Santeiu - 1M diving, 3M diving, Platform diving