OMAHA, Neb. - Three Auburn swimmers qualified for the semifinals in the men's 100 backstroke on Tuesday morning as Kyle Owens, Max Murphy and Kohlton Norys were among the top 16 in prelims on the second day of the U.S. Olympic Trials at the CenturyLink Center.
NBC will have live coverage of the finals session tonight from 7-8 p.m.; fans can also watch tape-delayed coverage of this morning's preliminary heats beginning at 5:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Network.
Owens, a rising senior from Johnson City, Tenn., came within .12 seconds of a personal best time as he clocked a 54.32 to finish seventh overall in the prelims. He will be seeded sixth in the semifinals tonight as Ryan Lochte, the No. 2 qualifier, scratched from the semis.
"I tried to be a little more conservative going out and just hammer my legs coming home," Owens said. "It wasn't bad. I'll be faster tonight."
Owens will be joined by spring 2012 graduate Max Murphy, whose time of 55.26 was the 13th-fastest in the morning session and his best in a textile suit; he was within .10 seconds of his best in a technical suit from 2009 when he went 55.16.
"It was (a good race)," Murphy said. "I just tried to get out fast and get my feet on the wall for the first 50, then just power it home. It was my best time in a couple of years, so I'm pretty happy with it."
In addition, fall 2011 graduate Kohlton Norys qualified 16th overall with a time of 55.49 to give the Tigers three swimmers in the semifinals.
"I got a little excited and went out with too much energy," Norys said. "I just came back as fast as I could; hopefully I'll be better tonight."
Rising senior Brandon Siemasko also posted a lifetime-best mark of 57.45 in his heat of the 100 back, finishing tied for 72nd.
For the second straight day, rising junior Zane Grothe posted a lifetime-best mark in his preliminary swim. He clocked a 1:50.82 to win his heat and finish 35th overall; his previous best time had been a 1:52.17. Rising sophomore Allen Browning also went a personal-best in the 200 free with a 1:52.12 to finish tied for 66th.
Five swimmers connected to Auburn competed in the women's 100 breaststroke. Former Tiger Micah Lawrence made her way into the semifinals with a time of 1:08.36, finishing ninth overall. Other Auburn entries included rising senior Lauren Norberg (1:11.66), sophomore Abby Duncan (1:11.81), senior Lindsey Norberg (1:12.65) and senior Laura Johnson (1:14.02).
Jillian Vitarius, a 2012 Auburn signee, had the top time among the seven swimmers with Auburn ties entered in the women's 100 backstroke. She posted a 1:02.79 to finish 23rd overall. Incoming transfer Aubrey Peacock was 29th with a 1:02.87, and rising junior Emily Bos finished 31st with a 1:02.89.
A pair of incoming freshmen, Sarah Reynolds and Caitlyn Forman, finished 60th (1:03.62) and 72nd (1:03.84), respectively. Rising junior Olivia Scott was 95th with a 1:04.26, and former Auburn swimmer Jennifer von Jouanne clocked a 1:04.91 to finish 126th overall.
Rising senior Katie Gardocki was the final Auburn competitor of the morning. She posted a time of 4:14.79 in the women's 400 freestyle preliminary to finish 26th overall.
The second night of finals begins at 7 p.m. CT here at the CenturyLink Center. The night begins with the final of the women's 100 butterfly, followed by semifinals in the men's 200 free and women's 100 breast. Former Tigers Mark Gangloff and Eric Shanteau will swim in the men's 100 breast final, beginning at approximately 7:37 p.m., and the men's 100 back semifinal is slated to start at approximately 8 p.m.
Auburn Swimming & Diving
2012 U.S. Olympic Trials - Day 2 Prelims
June 26, 2012
CenturyLink Center - Omaha, Neb.