AUBURN, Alabama, January 7. THE Auburn Tigers, ranked fourth nationally, play host to three-time defending national champion Texas, currently #2, on Thursday at the James E. Martin Aquatics Center in Auburn.
AU has won 11 consecutive dual meets, dating back to January of 2001. The Tigers are looking to extend their SEC Championship streak to seven years.
The first 500 fans in attendance will receive an Auburn Bank stopwatch courtesy of Auburn Bank.
The initial 2002-03 College Swimming Coaches Association of America poll released on Oct. 25 had the Tigers listed as the No. 2 team in the country, behind #1 Texas. Since then, the Tigers have fallen back to No. 4, where they are tied with California with 173 points. Michigan in No. 1 with all eight
first-place votes and 200 points while Texas is second with 188 points.
Auburn vs. the Longhorns
Auburn and Texas have met 13 times since 1970 and the Tigers hold a very slim 7-6 advantage in the series. The Tigers broke the tie in the series with a 145-98 win on Dec. 15, 2001, in Austin, Texas. This year
marks the ninth consecutive that the two squads will face each other in a dual meet. UT had won four straight dual meets against the Tigers before last
season's victory by AU.
The closest ever score in the series came in 1983 when the Tigers defeated the Longhorns, 58-55.
The Longhorns are the last team to have defeated the Tigers in a dual meet, knocking off AU, 136.5-103.5 on Jan. 11, 2001.
Last Time in the Pool
AU finished up the first half of their schedule by winning the three-day Auburn Tiger Invitational over defending ACC Champion and current No. 9 Virginia and South Carolina. The men came out of the meet with 21
individual NCAA provisional times from 11 different swimmers. Freshman George Bovell and junior Mark Gangloff each collected three consideration times to lead the Tigers.
Diving Duo in Indy
Auburn divers Caesar Garcia and Matt Bricker have headed up to Indianapolis, Ind., for the 2003 Speedo American Cup at the Counsilman Billingsley Aquatic Center, the first meet of the 2003 USA Diving
competition calendar. The pair will compete in the platform, synchronized 3-meter and synchronized platform competitions, which starts with two
qualifying rounds on Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 7 and 8.
Freshman George Bovell has been on a tear since joining the Tigers this summer. The Trinidad and Tobago native holds three of the Tigers 21 NCAA provisional times (100 free, 200 free, 200 IM) and has the top Tiger time in the 100 free (44.35) and 200 IM (1:47.68). He has also swum the leadoff leg for the NCAA qualifying 400 free relay and 800 free relay
Gangloff Has Three Times of His Own
Junior Mark Gangloff joins Bovell with three NCAA provisional times. The Stow, Ohio, native has "B" cuts in the 100 breast (54.86), 200 breast (1:59.48) and 200 IM (1:49.12). His times in both breaststrokes are the top Tiger times of the year entering the Texas meet.
The Hunt for March
Junior Bryce Hunt also had collected multiple NCAA "B" cuts for the Tigers. The Newburgh, Ind., native has the lone Tiger provisional times in the 100 backstroke (49.10) and the 200 backstroke (1:45.87). He is also a
member of the provisional 400 medley relay squad that has a provisional time, having swum the first leg.
A Sign of the Times
According to the NCAA top times list on SwimInfo, AU is a dominant squad in the 200 IM. The Tigers have three individuals listed in the top 14 with George
Bovell ranking second (1:47.68). Mark Gangloff checking in at 12th (1:49.12) and James Galloway at 14th (1:49.30). All told, Jeremy Knowles (1:50.74 –
27th) and Eric Shanteau (1:51.63 – 49th) the Tigers have five swimmers in the top 50 nationally in that event.
Auburn and Texas have many links to each on the roster page as the Tigers have pulled two athletes from the Lone Star State while the Longhorns have two from Alabama on their roster.
For the Tigers, senior James Galloway hails from Montgomery, Texas, while Andy Haidinyak is from Houston. As for UT, Rainer Kendrick hails from
Birmingham while Matt Molnar comes from Auburn.
The AU-UT connections don't end on the roster page. In fact, between the two academic institutions, they have collected six of the last seven NCAA Championships, which AU's coming in 1997 and 1999.
The similarities don't end there as Texas head coach Eddie Reese is very familiar with the Auburn swimming program, guiding the Tigers to a 32-9 dual meet record while he was the head man on The Plains from 1973-78.
In his stay at AU, Reese guided the Tigers to national prominence, finishing second at the NCAA's in his final season here, AU's highest finish up to that point, and steadily improving the program nationally and in the Southeastern Conference.
Current AU Head Coach David Marsh guided the Tigers to their first national championship, however, in 1997, defeating Reese's Texas squad, which finished fourth.