April 6, 2008
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Cesar Cielo set a new Auburn and South American record on Sunday at the Ohio Grand Prix as he won the 100m freestyle with a time of 48.34. He breaks his own Auburn record of 48.49, set earlier this year at the Missouri Grand Prix.
The win is the first for Cielo at the Ohio Grand Prix, one of seven events in the Toyota Grand Prix Series, after he finished second in the 50m free on Friday.
Cielo led wire-to-wire in the race, going out in 22.99 in the first 50 meters, and held off Michael Phelps to take the win. Phelps finished second in the event with at time of 48.41.
Finishing behind Phelps was former Auburn sprinter and 2004 French Olympian Fred Bousquet as he finished third with a time of 49.38. Auburn senior Alexei Puninski finished behind Bousquet in fourth, touching in at 49.60. Puninski's time is a personal-best by nearly six seconds.
Also competing in the 100m free championship final was former Tiger and 2004 Olympian from Trinidad & Tobago George Bovell. He finished sixth in the race with a time of 50.76.
On the women's side, Auburn sophomore Alana Dillette finished third in the 100m freestyle consolation final, coming in 11th overall, with a time of 57.81. Her time is a personal-best by more than a tenth of a second.
With the Ohio Grand Prix being sanctioned by FINA, the international governing body for swimming, it served as an opportunity to qualify for Olympic teams and Olympic Trials. Puninski and Dillette both punched their tickets to the 2008 Olympics at the meet, becoming the third and fourth current Auburn swimmers to make their respective country's team.
Puninski made his way onto Croatia's team after his performance Friday in the 100m butterfly while Dillette made the Bahamas team after her race in the 100m backstroke.
They join Cielo (Brazil) and Matt Targett
(Australia), who have already earned their way onto Olympic teams for the 2008 Games.