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March 23, 2013

Auburn roundup: WNIT game Sunday, six new All-Americans, O’Neal struggles, and more

UAB vs Auburn

BY AARON BRENNER | abrenner@ledger-enquirer.com

AUBURN, Ala. – Continuing to set up camp nicely in the WNIT, the Auburn women’s basketball team (17-14) looks to prolong its season once again Sunday at 3 p.m. ET in the second round against Western Kentucky (22-10).

The Tigers are now 9-2 all-time in the postseason event, including a perfect 4-0 in the first round following Wednesday’s 80-57 demolition of UAB, which was done in by a local girl – Auburn junior guard Tyrese Tanner from Birmingham, who poured in a career-best 29 points.

Now it’s on to the Hilltoppers, who boast two sophomores with gaudy numbers. Alexis Govan (20.3 points) and Chastity Gooch (16.0 points, 11.3 rebounds) will try to take down the host Tigers, who at home are 6-1 all-time in the WNIT and – more importantly – 13-3 at home this season.

“Alexis Govan is an unbelievable player and a tough matchup for us,” Auburn coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. “She is playing the four spot, which for them really is not a post player, she is a guard at the four. As well as Chastity Gooch inside, she is playing extremely well for them. Their guards are steady, it will be a tough matchup for us; we are going to have to sit down and defend.”

The winner will take on either Arkansas or Tulane in the quarterfinals, late next week.

Walk-up tickets are available – $10 for reserved seating and $7 for general admission. The game will be aired at AuburnTigers.com.

Six All-American swimmers

The Auburn women’s swimming and diving squad landed six All-America honors in Saturday’s conclusion of the NCAA championships in Indianapolis.

Seniors Katie Gardocki (1650 freestyle) and Micah Lawrence (200 breaststroke), along with the Tigers’ 400 free relay (Hannah Riordan, Emily Bos, Megan Fonteno, Olivia Scott) finished in the top 16 of their events on the last day, helping Auburn to a team finish of No. 13 in the final standings.

Scott won the 100 butterfly Friday night, Auburn’s only individual championship of the week. The Tigers had a total of 19 All-American qualifying times over three days, including five for Bos and four for Scott.

NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships

O’Neal, Tigers baseball tumbles

Michael O’Neal is figuring out, after a phenomenal start to his Auburn baseball career against non-conference opponents, the SEC is a whole new ballgame.

O’Neal (4-2) took his second straight loss Saturday night to a top-three opponent in the Tigers’ 5-1 defeat at No. 3 LSU at Alex Box Stadium.

The Pacelli and CVCC product was 4-0 with a 1.40 ERA, six walks against 14 strikeouts, before the SEC slate began. After scraping together a quality start vs. No. 2 Vanderbilt last weekend, O’Neal went just four innings Saturday, yielding seven hits and five runs (four earned) in defeat, seeing his ERA rise to 2.78.

Offensively, Auburn (15-8) is developing a habit of creating opportunities but failing to capitalize. The Tigers had 10 hits, but left 10 men on base and scored just one run.

“We kept the game close and that’s what you have to do against good teams,” Auburn head coach John Pawlowski said. “I thought we gave ourselves plenty of opportunities, we just weren’t able to come up with something. I was hoping someone could find a hole and we could score some runs but it didn’t happen. These guys keep battling hard and hopefully tomorrow we will be able to get something going.”

Auburn’s in serious trouble in the league standings, dropping to 0-5. The series finale is Sunday at 2 p.m. ET.

Soccer coach extended 

Karen Hoppa, who has brought Auburn women’s soccer to seven consecutive NCAA tournaments and back-to-back SEC title game appearances, will remain with the Tigers through the 2017 season, awarded a five-year extension late Friday night.

“While we take great pride in what we have accomplished here during my tenure, we know there is more work to do and I will work tirelessly to take this program to the next level,” Hoppa said. “I am blessed to work at such a wonderful institution, and I look forward to the next five years.”

Auburn is 164-111-24 in 14 seasons under Hoppa, who came to Auburn in 1999 – the longest-tenured women’s soccer coach in the SEC.

Record score

Still on the upswing, Auburn’s gymnastics squad recorded the program’s highest-ever SEC meet score with 196.55, good for fifth in the league Saturday in Little Rock.

The Tigers await their regional destination, to be announced Monday afternoon.

February 23, 2013

Auburn men’s swimming and diving squad falls to Florida, ends 16-year SEC reign

SEC Swimming ChampionshipsStaff report

Finally, Florida broke through to snap the Auburn men’s swimming and diving squad’s 16-year reign of SEC championships Saturday at the Texas A&M Student Natatorium.

The Gators, who had finished runner-up to the Tigers each of the past 11 years, compiled 1,408 points for their 34th league championship. Auburn’s 1,196 points were good for second, followed by Georgia, Tennessee and newcomer Missouri.

Auburn won five of the six individual championship Saturday night, including junior Zane Grothe (1650 freestyle in 14 minutes, 41.45 seconds), junior Marcelo Chierighini (100 freestyle, 41.60 seconds), senior Kyle Owens (200 backstroke, 1:39.69) and junior diver John Santeiu (426.06 points). The Tigers’ 400 freestyle relay squad of Chierighini, Arthur Mendes, James Disney-May and Owens also won a title.

The Tigers’ 10 individual and relay titles (out of 21 events) led all squads over the five-day duals. However, the Gators’ depth was able to hold off powerhouse Auburn, which will look to make amends at the NCAA championships March 28-30 in Indianapolis.

Chierighini was named SEC men’s swimmer of the year

Auburn’s women finished in fifth place as a team, as Georgia won its fourth consecutive crown over Texas A&M and Florida.

February 18, 2013

“Make this your pool”: Auburn men, 16-year defending kings of the pool, confident for this week’s SEC swim championship meet

Photo by Todd Van Emst

Photo by Todd Van Emst

AUBURN, Ala. – Before they began stretching and warming up for a dual meet at Texas A&M’s glittering Student Recreation Natatorium the second weekend of January, Auburn swimming and diving senior captains Kyle Owens and Stu Ferguson insisted the entire squad take a lap around the pool.

Not wading in the water. Walking around it … plotting.

“We said, make this your pool now,” Owens said, “because when all the other teams are here, they’re going to know this is your pool.”

That’s the ideal psychology of a perennial champion. Auburn is 16-time defending winner of the SEC Championships, and starting today it will try to make it 17 straight in College Station by the end of Saturday’s finals.

The most recent of the Tigers’ seven NCAA crowns was claimed in this very same pool, in 2009. None of the 30 men on the current roster had yet to suit up for Auburn.

In Owens’ mind, when in unfamiliar territory, it’s important to know every last detail of his surroundings – the colors of the walls, the size of the bleachers, even the location of the restrooms.

So when Auburn defeated the host Aggies 189-11 six weeks ago, it wasn’t just a routine road victory. Valuable experience was garnered for when the Tigers’ impressive streak over the better part of two decades is once again on the line.

“We’ve had 16 in a row. You know, try and beat us. It’s kind of that mentality,” Owens said. “The coaches throughout the whole season try and teach us that – don’t get nervous, but make it your baby, and say, this is ‘your’ meet.”

You’d think with a cavalcade of colossal banners hanging from the rafters at James E. Martin Aquatics Center, it’d be easy for the Tigers to constantly bear the 16-year consecutive dominance in mind.

“We’ve never really talked about winning championships,” swimming and diving head coach Brett Hawke said. “We just talk about being at our best each year, and it just happens to be that we’ve won so many championships with that. We do realize that the community at large really responds to how well we’ve done, and that’s a big part of everyday practice for us. We have an expectation to be great, so we hold the guys to that standard.

“They’re proud of the streak, but it’s certainly not something they dwell on too much.”

That weekend at Texas A&M, one of two membership additions to the SEC, was also a big one for the Auburn women, who went 7-0 in dual meets this winter.

They knocked off the prohibitive league favorite Aggies 158-141, giving them confidence they can rekindle the SEC success from 2003-08, with five conference championships in six seasons.

“Auburn’s kind of fallen off the map a little bit the past couple of years, at least for the women’s side,” senior team captain Katie Gardocki said. “So I think winning will get back to where we used to be and where we need to be in the future.”

Gardocki sets the main goal at finishing top three this week, with Texas A&M and three-time reigning champ Georgia figuring to lead the pack.

“It’s bigger than yourself. You’re fighting for your team,” senior freestyler Becca Jones said. “So I couldn’t even put into words how I would feel. You work all season long for it, and just to be able to accomplish something as a team that we set our goals for, that would give us a lot of confidence going into the NCAAs.”

The Auburn men and women each bring two 2012 Olympians with them to the postseason. Brazilian sprinter Marcelo Chierighini and Englishman mid-distance James Disney-May are a pair of male junior freestyle swimmers, while freestyle/butterfly sophomore Megan Fonteno (American Samoa) and senior breaststroke Micah Lawrence (USA) represent the women.

This is the first time the SEC meet is spread out over five days. Because of the new infrastructure of the SEC, the future of men and women competing for conference titles together in one pool on one weekend is uncertain.

July 2, 2012

The Week in Review: Olympic trials spice up Auburn’s dog days of summer

Photo by Todd Van Emst

By now, it’s pretty obvious as we enter the week of the Fourth of July that the dog days of summer have landed on Auburn, meaning that there’s not much going on in terms of Auburn athletics.

Except for the Olympics.

As a huge fan of the Olympics, the fact that the London Games are just around the corner have the blog pretty ready for the end of July and the start of August.

And as most of you know already, there’s going to be at least a solid Auburn presence, especially in the pool, where Auburn’s long run of success recently has paid off with a healthy contingent of 14 swimmers spread across several countries who punched their ticket to the Olympics.

Without further ado, here it is, the week that was in Auburn athletics.

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The Week in Review

  • The big football news of the week centered around the saga of Zeke Pike, who left Auburn and headed home for the summer. As I wrote in my Friday column — Zeke Pike’s troubles no surprise – the Tigers had to have known that Pike could have problems once he arrived on campus. The big question is whether or not Pike can right the ship and make it back to campus before the fall. As most of you already know, sending a freshman home is a pretty drastic step, so hopefully it will get Pike’s attention.
  • Pike’s absence this summer may not hurt as much as it seems. Remember, Auburn signed two freshman quarterbacks in the 2012 class, and if Central-Phenix City’s Jonathan Wallace develops quickly, the Tigers could be able to develop him as a potential No. 3 as the season goes along.
  • A wild offseason in the SEC has left some question marks for several other SEC teams heading into the season — SEC Media Days are only two weeks away — and a big one came when Georgia running back Isaiah Crowell was dismissed from the team following an arrest for felony weapons charges. Given that the Bulldogs are deep at running back, how much the arrest affects Georgia remains to be seen, but it’s another in a long line of legal-related distractions from this offseason.
  • Former Auburn high flyer Kenny Gabriel wasn’t picked in the NBA Draft, but that should have come as a relatively small surprise. Given that NBA teams tend to look for big-time collegiate production, a draft pick was unlikely for Gabriel, who put together a solid all-around season but never showed a big-time skill in his senior season at Auburn. For Gabriel to find a place in the league, he’s going to have to put on some weight, develop his jumper or learn to take people off of the dribble.
  • Tigers sprinter Marcus Rowland may have finished 8th in the 200 meters in the U.S. Olympic Trials, but that’s a pretty good start for the junior. Normally, sprinters take a couple of years before developing into true threats at the international level, and a finish like that could spark a big senior season for Rowland. “I’m really proud of the way Marcus competed this week,” Auburn head coach Ralph Spry said. “It is no small feat to run the 100 and 200 meters and Marcus was able to reach the semifinals and finals. That really says a lot about him as a competitor. These two weeks have been a great learning experience for him and I look forward to seeing what he is able to do in 2013 as a senior.”
  • Auburn’s swimming & diving teams haven’t been a true contender for a national title team recently, but the Tigers’ program in the pool, as mentioned earlier, will be all over the Olympics in London. So don’t worry, the dog days of summer can only last so long. SEC Media Days are only two weeks away, and the Olympics are a couple of weeks after that.

Tyler McGill wraps up U.S. Olympic Trials by qualifying for first Olympics; 14 swimmers with Auburn ties headed to the Olympics

Former Auburn swimmer Tyler McGill came flying back after a rough start to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics on Sunday night by finishing second in the 100-meter butterfly to world-record holder Michael Phelps, arguably the greatest swimmer of all time.

McGill finished in 51.32 seconds, only a shade behind Phelps’s 51.14, the fastest time in the world this year.

He beat out superstar Ryan Lochte for second place and a spot on the Olympic team, and he could have a shot at a medal once the U.S. swimmers begin competition in London.

“I came here for a purpose,” McGill said. “It didn’t matter who was next to me or where I was in the race. The goal was to make the Olympic team. It wasn’t anything that I didn’t expect to do; I’m just happy that I’m going to London.”

McGill joins Eric Shanteau and Micah Lawrence on the U.S. Olympic team, which begins with the swimming on July 28 and ends Aug. 4. Those three lead an Auburn contingent of swimmers that features 14 swimmers with ties to the Plains who have already qualified for the trip to London.

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2012 London Olympic Qualifiers

  • George Bovell, Trinidad & Tobago, 50 free, 100 free
  • Adam Brown, Great Britain, 50 free, 4×100 free relay
  • Marcelo Chierighini, Brazil, 4×100 free relay
  • Cesar Cielo, Brazil, 50 free, 100 free, 4×100 free relay
  • Kirsty Coventry, Zimbabwe, 100 back, 200 back, 200 IM, 400 IM
  • James Disney-May, Great Britain,  4×100 free relay
  • Megan Fonteno, American Samoa, 100 free
  • Stephanie Horner, Canada, 400 IM
  • Micah Lawrence, United States, 200 breast
  • Gideon Louw, South Africa, 50 free, 100 free, 4×100 free relay
  • Tyler McGill, United States, 100 fly
  • Eric Shanteau, United States, 100 breast
  • Matt Targett, Australia, 4×100 free relay
  • Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace, Bahamas, 50 free, 100 free

July 1, 2012

Former Auburn swimmer Micah Lawrence punches ticket to London

For the most part, it’s been tough to keep up with the marathon of Olympic qualifying going on in both swimming and track and field this week, but Auburn’s former swimmers have been on fire in terms of qualifications. No fewer than 13 current or former Auburn swimmers have punched Olympic berths, although only two are U.S. Olympic Team members.

The Tigers got their second on Saturday when Micah Lawrence finished second in the women’s 200-meter breaststroke in 2:23.03, her personal best, to earn a spot on the team.

Lawrence,

“I knew I was going to be really excited for that race,” Lawrence said. “Coach told me to concentrate on my line that first 100, just go out really smoothly, then bring it back that last 100. That’s been our plan the whole time I’ve been with him.

Eric Shanteau, a 2006 graduate, had already punched his ticket to London in the 100 breaststroke earlier this week.

“Exciting night for the program,” Auburn head coach Brett Hawke said. “Obviously, Micah’s placement on the Olympic team is huge for her and for us. With Jillian coming in as a freshman, she’s showing signs that she loves to race. She’s going to be a great competitor for us in the future. And Tyler is setting himself up for a battle tomorrow in the 100 fly. He’s been working hard and training for this, and it’s his time.”

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June 25, 2012

The Week in Review: A circus of a case, the Juggernaut unleashed and a poorly-timed mistake by Pike

Photo by Todd Van Emst

For a long time, the rumor was that things tended to slow down in the summer, and to be fair, the blog has played its fair share of softball and sand volleyball since the weather got warm and most sports turned to the offseason.

But on the other hand, the news cycle hasn’t exactly slowed down much, what with the Updyke trial, NCAA movers and shakers and a few other extracurriculars that have come down the pipe since I returned from Texas and came off of furlough.

Enough about the schedule, though. Let’s take a look at the week that was in Auburn athletics.

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The Week In Review

  • Auburn fans who have kept their eye on the trial of Harvey Updyke should have been surprised very little by the circus-like quality of the last three days. Over the weekend, the question the blog heard most was, if he’s confessed so many times, why is this trial such a big deal? And the answer is simple. When — at this point, it’s probably better to put if — this case goes to trial, the argument is likely to be centered around things other than Updyke’s guilt. Remember, he’s pled not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect, so Updyke’s competency will be on trial. In addition, the defense’s earlier court filings plan to argue against the validity of the charges the state is bringing. His guilt, it seems, is only a small part of the case.
  • Bad, bad move by Zeke Pike to get arrested for public intoxication this weekend, no matter how you look at it. Even though the coaching staff has said all the right things about the quarterback race being three-pronged, Pike always faced an uphill battle as a freshman, and loyal blog readers and Auburn fans know that Kiehl Frazier seemed to have grabbed the lead after the spring. Now, in a summer that’s important for development, Pike’s arrest will make it hard for the coaches to install him as the team’s leader.
  • Granted, it seemed like Jay Prosch’s application for a hardship waiver was always a slam-dunk case, but the fact that the NCAA has made a ruling on the waiver lifted any question there might have been. Prosch has been installed as the team’s fullback from day one of spring drills, and a ruling the other way would have forced Auburn’s coaches to make some hard decisions about the tight ends and finding a lead blocker in Scot Loeffler’s offense. With Prosch available, that’s all out the window.
  • Prosch’s immediate eligibility also figures to be a huge boost for senior tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen, who didn’t exactly hide his excitement when the news broke on Thursday. “Glad big Jay Prosch gets to play!! Plus he opens my game up!! Watch out for the “gruesome twosome”!!” Lutzenkirchen tweeted. What Prosch does is open up Lutzenkirchen as a receiver. After catching only 24 passes last year despite solid receiving skills, expect Lutzenkirchen to play a much bigger role in the passing offense in the fall.
  • Terri Williams-Flournoy finished off her coaching staff by adding former Alabama and Georgetown assistant Ty Evans to the staff last week. Evans was a nice pickup. He knows the state of Alabama, knows Williams-Flournoy and most importantly, gives Auburn some immediate recruiting authority within the state confines. It will be interesting to see what the new coaching staff does.
  • Auburn golfers had another stellar week in a year that seems to be a highlight year for the program. At the collegiate level, Blayne Barber was named to the 2012 All-Nicklaus Team, Dominic Bozzelli picked up honorable mention All-America honors and freshman Michael Johnson cruised to the Greystone Invitational title. On the pro level, former golfer Jason Dufner has taken a break from winning all his tournaments, but Roland Thatcher tied for fourth at the Travelers Championship. Not a bad stretch for the program this season.
  • Whether or not an Auburn sprinter can contend for an Olympic team spot remains to be seen, but Marcus Rowland and Keenan Brock have already had good weekends at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore. Both made the semifinals, and Rowland was a place away from earning a starting block in the finals. Harry Adams, perhaps the Tigers’ fastest man, still has a 200 appearance to make.
  • A whole mess of Auburn swimmers are in Omaha, Neb., competing in the U.S. Olympic Trials this week. Don’t expect any of the current Tigers to make the team, but if anybody does, it would be a heck of an accomplishment. The 2012 Olympics in London begin at the end of July.

March 26, 2012

The Week in Review: Football comes back with a bang, plenty of questions and a new-look offense

Photo by Anthony Hall

All it takes is a little football in the spring to ramp up Auburn athletics into full gear and moving with its foot on the gas pedal.

For those who have been paying attention to the blog in the last week, football news has come fast and furious, but it’s been hard to do a whole lot of analysis so far with Auburn football opening a couple of spring practices and Auburn’s baseball team making a push to be the early surprise of SEC play.

But that’s what The Week in Review was meant to start. Get ready for a few rapid-fire thoughts and observations from everything Auburn athletics to recap one heck of a busy week on the plains.

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The Week in Review: Auburn

  1. Ever since Auburn offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler took over the lead as the architect of the Tigers’ point-scoring attack, the big question has centered around what type of scheme he’s going to install in Auburn. Loeffler, unsurprisingly, has been tight-lipped so far, but there have been a few bread crumbs dropped along the way. First, the transfer of fullback Jay Prosch, who I wrote about for Monday’s edition of the Ledger-Enquirer, the revelation that Loeffler wants to get the tight ends more involved in the offense and then Clint Moseley’s characterization of the offense as a pro-style attack. Right now, the best guess here is that Loeffler’s pro-style offense is still a hybrid — he did say that Auburn will be going out of the shotgun 40 percent of the time — that incorporates elements from several different offenses. Most schemes these days are.
  2. Of the three quarterbacks battling for the starting job, Moseley is more of a pocket passer than Kiehl Frazier or Zeke Pike. Normally, when a pro-style attack comes to mind, the pocket passer is the first image that comes to mind, but a quick examination of a few other college pro-style offenses reveals that a traditional passer may not be exactly what Loeffler’s looking for at all. Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson, Kansas State’s Collin Klein and even Stanford star Andrew Luck have all fit the mold of a mobile quarterback in a pro-style attack.
  3. Not real surprising to hear that new defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder is interested in the different ways he can use Jermaine Whitehead in the defense. Whitehead really came on as Auburn’s nickel cornerback late in the season, and the trend in defenses is to use the nickel back as a versatile weapon. At the collegiate level, LSU’s Tyrann Mathieu is probably the prototype, a playmaker who can force turnovers in both the running game and the passing game.
  4. Enough about football for the moment — Auburn puts pads on in the morning, check back on the blog Monday morning —  the Tigers have turned in a couple of impressive weeks on the baseball diamond. Auburn took two of three from LSU this weekend, highlighted by a couple of close wins in the late innings. If the Tigers aren’t ranked after taking two straight series from ranked teams, the blog will be a little surprised.
  5. Best story on the baseball team right now? With apologies to freshman lefty starter Daniel Koger and a locked-in Ryan Tella at the plate, designated hitter/closer Justin Bryant has to have one of the most interesting roles in the nation. Inserted as Auburn’s DH at the start of SEC play, Bryant is hitting over .300, and he’s got three saves already this season as Auburn’s go-to pitcher in tight spots. Hands down, Bryant has to be one of the most versatile players in the country.
  6. Auburn’s men finished sixth at the NCAA Championships over the weekend in Washington, a slightly disappointing result after the Tigers’ dominance of the SEC Championships in recent years. On the other hand, it’s hard to see the Tigers being in any danger of losing their streak of 16 straight SEC titles. Auburn’s two most productive swimmers from the NCAAs, Zane Grothe and Marcelo Chierighini, are both sophomores.
  7. Auburn softball got the season started off quickly, but the No. 21 Tigers have been in trouble since they entered SEC play. Against a Kentucky team that had struggled to get going this season, Auburn dropped the first two — making it five straight losses — before eeking out a 2-1 win on Sunday. Hard to imagine the Tigers getting back on track right now.
  8. Ranked No. 15 in the country, Auburn’s gymnastics team finished seventh at the SEC Championships in Duluth, Ga., but Tigers coach Jeff Graba was named the SEC Coach of the Year, and senior Laura Lane earned her second straight Scholar Athlete of the Year award. “I like that fact that this great recognition comes from a group of people that I have great respect for,” Auburn head coach Jeff Graba said. “These are the top coaches in the country.”

March 25, 2012

Auburn finishes the NCAA Men’s Swimming & Diving Championships in 6th place

Photo by Todd Van Emst

Marcelo Chierighini finished off Auburn’s performance at the NCAA Men’s Swimming & Diving Championships with the Tigers’ highest individual placing of the meet, a silver medal in the 100-yard freestyle after burning through the race in 42.34 seconds.

Chierighini also swam the anchor leg in the 400 free relay, another second-place finish that pushed Auburn into a solid sixth-place finish overall at the NCAA Men’s Swimming & Diving Championships in Federal Way, Wash., over the weekend.

“I would have liked to break 42 (seconds),” Chierighini said. “I was not really happy with my time. But at that point in the meet, the last day, we are so tired. I was just really glad to score a lot of points to help Auburn.”

Zane Grothe, another sophomore who had a big meet, came up with a school-record performance in the 1,650 free, his second big-time race of the weekend. Placed in a field paced by Georgia swimmer Martin Grodszki’s NCAA-record time, Grothe felt himself stay strong as the grueling race went on.

“I could see some open water next to me. It was exactly what I’ve been working on, the kick on the second half (of the race). It felt good, and I pushed it hard.”

Auburn’s big performances from its two sophomores could make the Tigers bigger players in the NCAA Championships in the years to come. For the moment, it was enough to finish strong.

“It’s disappointing (to finish sixth), but at the same time it’s encouraging,” Auburn coach Brett Hawke said. “It keeps us hungry and focuses us for the future. We know we’re close, we just want to take that next step and find our way (back to the top).”

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Auburn: Final Tally

  • 200 free relay: 2nd, 1:16.67 (Drew Modrov, Karl Krug, T.J. Leon, Marcelo Chierighini)
  • 500 free: Zac Grothe, 4th, 4:15.42
  • 200 individual medley: Kyle Owens, 8th, 1:44.85
  • 50 free: Drew Modrov, 8th, 19.62
  • 400 medley relay: 5th, 3:06.51 (Kyle Owens, Stuart Ferguson, T.J. Leon, Marcelo Chierighini)
  • 200 free relay: 3rd, 1:24.70 (Kyle Owens, Stuart Ferguson, Karl Krug, Marcelo Chierighini)
  • 200 free: Zane Grothe, 14th, 1:35.56
  • 1oo breaststroke: Stuart Ferguson, 12th, 53.30
  • 100 backstroke: Kyle Owens, 4th, 45.98
  • 800 free relay: 12th, 6:27.92, (James Disney-May, Kyle Owens, Allen Browning, Zane Grothe)
  • 1,650 free: Zane Grothe, 4th, 14:37.59
  • 200 backstroke: Max Murphy, 8th, 1:44.19
  • 100 free: Marcelo Chierighini, 2nd, 42.34
  • 400 free relay: 2nd, 2:50.34, (Drew Modrov, Karl Krug, James Disney-May, Marcelo Chierighini)

Top 10 Teams

  1. California, 535.5
  2. Texas, 491
  3. Stanford, 426.5
  4. Arizona, 396
  5. Michigan, 271
  6. Auburn, 254.5
  7. Southern California, 192
  8. Florida, 157
  9. Louisville, 156
  10. Indiana, 140

March 24, 2012

Auburn in sixth place at the NCAA Championships after two days

Photo by Todd Van Emst

A busy day for junior Kyle Owens kept Auburn’s men firmly in the top 10 on the second day of the NCAA Men’s Swimming & Diving Championships Friday in Federal Way, Wash.

Owens finished fourth place in the 100 backstroke, swam the leadoff leg on Auburn’s third-place 200 free relay team and finished with the second leg on an 800 relay team that finished 12th, still a scoring spot for the Tigers.

“It was a big day,” Owens said. “I knew it coming into the meet. The focus this morning was just to get back in the 100 (backstroke) and swim really fast in the 200 medley (relay) as well.”

Auburn, the reigning SEC champion, is in sixth place after the first two days.

“It was a good day, it just wasn’t great,” Auburn head coach Brett Hawke said. “We’re having some good performances, but we’re looking for something a little extra (Saturday) morning. We have a chance to battle for fifth, and it’s going to be a test for these guys for the future, to see if we can dig down and find a way to move up a spot.”

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Auburn: Day Two

  • 200 free relay: 3rd, 1:24.70 (Kyle Owens, Stuart Ferguson, Karl Krug, Marcelo Chierighini)
  • 200 free: Zane Grothe, 14th, 1:35.56
  • 1oo breaststroke: Stuart Ferguson, 12th, 53.30
  • 100 backstroke: Kyle Owens, 4th, 45.98
  • 800 free relay: 12th, 6:27.92, (James Disney-May, Kyle Owens, Allen Browning, Zane Grothe)

Top 10 Teams

  1. California,  379.5
  2. Texas,  343.5
  3. Arizona, 283
  4. Stanford, 277
  5. Michigan, 199
  6. Auburn, 178.5
  7. Florida, 125
  8. USC, 119
  9. Louisville, 110
  10. Indiana, 102