April 25, 2007
AUBURN - The Auburn swimming and diving team along with the Tiger Splashers won the Spirit of Relay award at Relay for Life at Southern Union State Community College on April 14.
Four of the group members - Logan Madson, Will Dove, Jordan Anderson, and Tyler McGill - walked 26.2 miles, a marathon, without stopping from 10:11 p.m. until 5:30 a.m.
The groups participated in Relay for Life in memory of Coach Ralph Crocker who passed away in January at the age of 52 after a long illness. Crocker was an Auburn University graduate and had been coaching the swim team since 1999.
The night of Relay for Life, the Tiger Splasher/Swimming and Diving team displayed signs on their tent and wore shirts and buttons with the words RHOP in bold letters. RHOP stands for Ralph's House of Pain, an intense workout he used on the distance swimmers in practice.
Madson, a sophomore from Bend, Ore., said, "Around mile 20 we were exhausted and ready to give up, but then we remembered how hard Ralph fought and kept going."
At 4 a.m. the rest of the team donned their RHOP shirts and joined the fantastic four to run the track until the event was over at 6 a.m., and then headed off to morning practice.
Jackie Holmes, President of Tiger Splashers, said "When we heard about Auburn University's Relay for Life, we knew we had to create a team because our swimming and diving program witnessed the devastation of cancer this year. We invited the swimming and diving team to join us and were overwhelmed by their energetic response. I plan on making this an annual event and hopefully we will win next year as well."
The Tiger Splashers/Swimming and Diving team was awarded the Spirit of Relay trophy because of the energy and dedication they brought to the event in the late morning hours. Holmes says, "I was really excited when we won, but not surprised. They are national champions; if they are going to participate in something they will give 110 %."
Relay for Life is an overnight event sponsored by the American Cancer Society where teams walk around a track from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. in memory of those who have lost their lives to cancer and in celebration of those who have survived.
This past March, the women's swimming and diving team won its fifth national championship and the men won their seventh. Both teams were SEC champions this year as well. To learn more about this winning team you can visit www.auburnswimming.com.