July 11, 2012
AUBURN - With less than three weeks to go until the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics Games, rosters are taking shape and Auburn looks to have a strong representation once again. So far, 24 current and former Tigers, along with four coaches, have been selected to the London Olympics, representing 13 different countries.
Of the 24 athletes, 16 are making a return appearance with eight going for the first time. Also included in that list are seven athletes that have previously earned Olympic medals. Auburn has one of the largest delegations from the Southeastern Conference with more than 150 SEC athletes already confirmed for the Games.
"The SEC almost always has a strong contingent that earn a trip to the Olympic games," Auburn head track and field coach Ralph Spry said. "To know that within the SEC, that Auburn is among the leaders is a great accomplishment.
"Auburn has always been in the upper echelon nationally in both track and field and swimming and diving. The programs' continuing output of having both current and former athletes compete at the highest possible level shows that at Auburn we have the resources and the facilities to help a student-athlete get to the Olympic Games by creating environments that are conducive to the success of world-class individuals."
Auburn head swimming and diving coach Brett Hawke, who will be the head coach for the Bahamas at the Olympics, echoed Spry's sentiments.
"Once again, Auburn is going to have an outstanding number of current and former Tigers representing us at the London Olympics," said Hawke. "It speaks very highly of the tradition and competitiveness of the Auburn program that so many athletes at the Olympic Games have worn the `AU' during their careers. We are very proud of the 14 swimmers going to London, but we are especially excited about Tyler McGill, Gideon Louw, Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace, James Disney-May, Marcelo Chierighini and Megan Fonteno - the six swimmers that have trained here in Auburn leading up to the Olympics."
Auburn Olympic medalists that are heading back are George Bovell (Swimming, Trinidad & Tobago), Marc Burns (Track & Field, Trinidad & Tobago), Cesar Cielo (Swimming, Brazil), Kirsty Coventry (Swimming, Zimbabwe), Leevan Sands (Track & Field, Bahamas), Kerron Stewart (Track & Field, Jamaica) and Matt Targett (Swimming, Australia).
Others that are making a return trip to the Olympic Games are Adam Brown (Swimming, Great Britain), Josanne Lucas (Track & Field, Trinidad & Tobago), Stephanie Horner (Swimming, Canada), Gideon Louw (Swimming, South Africa), Shamar Sands (Track & Field, Bahamas), Maurice Smith (Track & Field, Jamaica), Eric Shanteau (Swimming, United States), Donald Thomas (Track & Field, Bahamas) and Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace (Swimming, Bahamas).
First-time Olympians this year are Marcelo Chierighini (Swimming, Brazil), James Disney-May (Swimming, Great Britain), Sheniqua Ferguson (Track & Field, Bahamas), Megan Fonteno (Swimming, American Samoa), Micah Lawrence (Swimming, United States), Tyler McGill (Swimming, United States), Stephen Saenz (Track & Field, Mexico) and Kai Selvon (Track & Field, Trinidad & Tobago).
Included in the list are six current Auburn student-athletes. Saenz and Selvon are current members of the track and field team while Chierighini, Disney-May, Fonteno and Vanderpool-Wallace are currently on the swimming and diving team.
Additionally, four Auburn coaches will be at the London Olympics. Hawke will coach the Bahamas Swim Team while former head coach David Marsh will serve as an assistant with the United States Swimming Team. Henry Rolle will serve as the relays coach for the Bahamas Track and Field Team while Mark Carroll will coach the distance runners for Ireland.
The 2012 Olympics are set to begin with the Opening Ceremony on July 27 in London. Swimming competition will kick off on July 28 with track and field beginning on August 3. For more information on Auburn's Olympians, check out www.AuburnTigers.com/Olympics.