Updated March 19, 2008
NCAA Championships Meet Notes [PDF]
NCAA Championships Meet Central
NCAA Championships Women's Official Psyche Sheet [PDF]
By Matt Crouch
Monday, March 17
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Welcome to the 2008 NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships at Ohio State University!
This week I will be writing a blog, updating everyone on the activities and accomplishments of the Auburn women's swim team as the Tigers look to defend their team title from last season and win their third in a row (sixth overall).
It's Monday of Championship Week and the Tigers flew out of Atlanta at 12:45 p.m. ET, beginning their week-long journey to a NCAA title. The team landed in Columbus, Ohio around 2:30 p.m. and found two limousines waiting for them at the terminal to take them to the hotel.
The hotel, The Blackwell, is really nice and is right on campus. It is across the street from St. John Arena, the home of the Buckeye men's and women's basketball teams until the beginning of the 1998-99 season. The arena now houses Ohio State volleyball, wrestling and gymnastics.
Next door to St. John Arena is Ohio Stadium, the 102,329-seat football stadium that currently holds the honor as the fourth-largest on-campus facility in the nation. And, in the shadow of Ohio Stadium is the new Bill and Mae McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion, home of the 2008 NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships.
The pavilion consists of the Mike Peppe Natatorium and the Ron O'Brien Diving Well. The Peppe Natatorium, named for the former Ohio State head coach, features a 50-meter competition pool and a 1,750 spectator seating area. The O'Brien Diving Well consists of 3-centerline towers and the ability to have 1- and 3-meter springboards on all four sides of the well. Holding nearly 1.56 million gallons of water in the entire facility, the Pavilion is part of Ohio State's new Recreation and Physical Activities Center (RPAC).
After checking into the hotel, the Tigers made their way down to the McCorkle Pavilion for their first official practice session of the NCAA Championships.
Senior Kara Denby was excited to get her final NCAAs started, especially with the expectations of another NCAA team title.
"I'm pretty excited, it's pretty amazing," said Denby on the pool deck prior to the start of practice. "It is going to be a good meet - it's NCAAs. We have an amazing team dynamic right now and I think we are all going to go really fast. . . and it's my last NCAAs, which is exciting, but it's also sad."
Auburn practiced along with Georgia, Alabama and Washington on Monday night. It was a pretty unique situation when the Huskies walked into the pool as Ariana Kukors, the younger sister of Auburn's Emily Kukors, came in with the team. Ariana is a freshman at Washington and will compete alongside her older sister this week in her first NCAA Championship meet.
Following practice, Auburn freshman Micah Martindale talked about her feelings on representing Auburn this week at the NCAA Championships.
"I am sooo excited, it is awesome," said Martindale. "Usually, freshmen don't get the opportunity to come to an event like this, but to be a part of a team that has a name, and everyone knows who you are, is awesome. When I first saw Auburn, everyone was so put-together and so unified when they were walking on deck. Now, to be a part of that, is amazing. I don't want to think about it too much, though, because I don't want to psych myself out too much, but I am definitely excited to see what I can do and also see what the team can do because we worked so hard this year."
With the completion of practice, the Tigers are heading out to dinner at a place called Champs. The team will be back at it tomorrow as their final-week preparations continue, but with a little bit of leisure time built into the schedule.
Tuesday, March 18
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Day two at the 2008 NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships was a relaxed one.
The team had the opportunity to sleep in a bit, if they wanted. The concept of "sleeping in" is a relative one, though, as most everyone had to be up and around by 9:30 a.m. When compared to the early starts the rest of the week, Tuesday was sleeping in.
After breakfast at the hotel, the team then went to the pool for a light workout. A few of the girls swam stingers (fast swims to help prepare yourself to race) today for Thursday's events. On the slate for Thursday are the 200 free relay, 500 free, 200 IM, 50 free and the 400 medley relay.
Swimming in a facility that is not yet three years old, the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion still has a "shiny, brand-new" feel to it. Reported to be a very fast pool, the team is excited to swim some races and see how fast they can go.
"Practice is going really well," said sophomore Melissa Marik. "I'm really excited. It is an awesome facility and everyone is ready to get in the water and have some fast races this week. I'm feeling great in the water, I think everyone is, we just have a great vibe going right now with the whole team."
With the morning practice complete, it was time for a little leisure time. The team went to Aveda and were all treated to pedicures - an Auburn NCAA Championships tradition.
"It was nice to get away from the swimming aspect and doing something with the team," said Marik. "I definitely enjoyed it - one of the perks of making it to NCAAs."
Junior Margo McCawley was definitely in agreement. What made the experience different this year was that pedicures were scheduled at a place that had enough workable space to fit the entire team, as opposed to going in shifts.
"It was so much fun," said McCawley. "This is the first year that all the girls were in the same room at the same time, so it was more of a team bonding thing."
After the pedicures, the team was able to come back to the hotel and relax a little while before heading back to the pool for another quick workout.
With practice time complete for the day, it was time to head to dinner - this time at Eddie George's Grille 27. The restaurant is owned by former Ohio State running back and Tennessee Titan Eddie George.
All in all, Tuesday was a pretty laid-back day as the countdown to NCAAs gets closer. Though there was not much going on, McCawley said she is having a good time - especially being with the team.
"It's good. The hotel is amazing, they have everything for us. It is just nice to get away from school, and be with all the girls at the same time."
Making the days even more relaxing is the fact that the team is tapering, or resting. Being around swimming all their lives, the team is a group of pros when it comes to tapering. No one is afraid to ask you to do the smallest thing for them, but hey, you do what you have to in getting those NCAA Championship trophies where they belong in Auburn.
Tomorrow is the last day of rest before the meet starts. Tomorrow night, the team will shave up, completing the taper and shave process before big meets. Then it's time to kick off the 2008 Championships on Thursday.
Wednesday, March 19
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Finally here, the last day of practice before the start of the 2008 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships. With a light day on the schedule to allow for plenty of relaxation before tomorrow's events, senior Kristen Hastrup takes us through her day today:
By Kristen Hastrup
The day before the meet is always unique. As all of the swimmers arrive, the atmosphere in the pool area intensifies.
However, as Auburn swimmers we like to keep things fun and relaxed.
In the morning, we woke up and ate an amazing breakfast. Then it was off to the pool for a warm-up.
When we got back to the hotel, we kept things light by watching Enchanted and playing games. Currently, we're addicted to Taboo.
Although Melanie Roberts was able to get seven words in one minute, that wasn't enough for the Freshman/Sophomore team to beat the Junior/Senior team. Perhaps this was due to the fact that Erica Meissner routinely brought in negative points each time she went.
While most of girls stayed in back at the hotel to shave their manly legs (girls you know who you are), a few of us went back to the pool for a quick sharpening.
After that, it was time for dinner back at the hotel. Dorsey gave one of her patented inspirational speeches and Emily Kukors teared up. Then Kukors debuted her design of our new NCAA T-shirts.
Finally it is back to our rooms for a little R and R before tomorrow when we will kick butt!!!