1997 NCAA Champions Auburn Tigers
Minneapolis, Minnesota will always be a fond memory for head
coach David Marsh and his 1997 menís swimming and diving team.
It is there that the Tigers won the programís first ever national
With four senior All-Americans, including three Olympians, the
1996-97 team dominated the competition by amassing a record total
of 496.5 points.
Ranked number two in the country going into the NCAA Swimming
and Diving Championships, Auburn left no doubt about who was really
number one as the Tigers overwhelmed preciously top-ranked Stanford,
defending national champion Texas and 54 other teams that had
qualified for nationals. The SEC champion Tigers finished a strong
156.5 points ahead of the second-place Cardinal.
"To be honest, I didnít know what to expect," said Marsh. "I
really enjoyed watching the guys celebrate and having a good time
feeling great about Auburn University, their experience here and
seeing it pay off for all of the hard work they put in this year."
In addition to winning the national title, Marsh was named 1997
NCAA Coach of the Year, adding to his accolades of great swimming
The previous year at the NCAA Championships in Austin, Texas,
the Tigers scored 443.5 points to finish ahead of top-ranked Michiganís
358 total but lost by 35.5 points to Texasí 479. Auburn remembered
what it felt like to be so close and not get there and used that
to push them over the top.
Stanford came into nationals ranked first ahead of Auburn, Tennessee,
Texas, Southern California and Michigan. The field included 12
returning individual champions but none from Auburn, which did
have Nick Shackell, Brock Newman, and Scott Tucker, members of
the defending champion 400 free relay team.
With the three Olympians, Shackell, Tucker and Hargis and the
senior diver Koffi Kla, Auburn rose to the top.
"Nick Shackell, through his attitude, his care and love for
the team, and his competitiveness, has been a tremendous leader,"
said Marsh. "One of the most important moments of this meet was
although John Hargis had the fastest 100 butterfly split on the
medley relay we won, he had a disappointing 100 butterfly, but
minutes later he was leading the cheers. That is what a guy of
quality character does. Scott Tucker ended his career on an incredibly
positive note. He was key in several of our relays. He has done
Auburn very proud. Koffi Kla has been the best team diver I think
we have ever had at Auburn. All four of those four will be missed
Newcomer Brett Hawke made an impression as he swam 19.16 in
the 50 free prelims, the fastest ever by an Auburn swimmer. Hawke
eventually took the title with a time of 19.19.
Wearing their "Marsh Madness" t-shirts, which featured a photo
of their coach in his longer hair that was fashionable in the
lates 1970ís as an All-American swimmer at AU, Auburnís 18 competitors
at nationals were obviously a close-knit group. Emphasizing the
point was the decision to bleach their hair white as a further
sign of team unity.
The Tigers won four out of five relays, placed second in the
800 free relay and had 15 individuals earn All-America honors.
After arriving back to Auburn, the Tigers and supporters gathered
at Toomerís Corner for a pep rally despite rain and thunder. An
official Coronation of Champions ceremony was held featuring a
traditional Tiger Walk from the Martin Aquatics Center to the
coliseum where the swimmers and coaches received handshakes, high
fives and cheers as they enjoyed their moment in the spotlight.
The formal ceremony featured a list of speakers and proclamations
from the president and the vice president of the United States
to the mayor of Auburn.-- By Mark Murphy
NCAA Individual Champions
200 Freestyle Relay
Brett Hawke, Matt Busbee, Aaron Ciarla, Nick Shackell
400 Freestyle Relay
Scott Tucker, Brock Newman, Brett Hawke, Nick Shackell
200 Medley Relay -- NCAA and US Open Record
Michael Bartz, Adam Jerger, John Hargis, Brett Hawke
400 Medley Relay
Michael Bartz, Adam Jerger, John Hargis, Brock Newman
National Coach of the Year
How They Finished...The Top 10
- AUBURN 496.5
- Stanford 340
- Georgia 297
- Texas 286
- Tennessee 235.5
- Southern Cal 235
- Michigan 209
- Miami 197
- Florida State 160
- SMU 157
Last Modified January 15, 2001
Auburn Media Relations