LEXINGTON, Kentucky, November 2. FIVE Tiger swimmers earned their first collegiate victories, and the Auburn men and women sprinted past host Kentucky on Friday afternoon in a pair of dual meet victories at the Lancaster Aquatic Center.
The Auburn women improved to 4-0 on the season (3-0 SEC) with a 212.5-87.5 win, and the Auburn men remained unbeaten at 3-0 (overall and SEC), winning by a 205.5-94.5 margin. Kentucky's men fell to 1-4 while the women dropped to 1-5 in dual-meet action.
“The team performed well, but we've still got a lot of work to do before the Georgia Invite and heading into SECs,” Auburn head coach Brett Hawke said. “I thought around the walls we were sloppy today. Some of our skills in general need a lot of work. But in terms of the team spirit and leadership, I was very happy.
“Peter Haas had a couple of nice swims today. That was big for him and for us as a team. Jillian Vitarius fought hard as a freshman swimming some other events today. Stuart Ferguson showed a lot of leadership winning an event he doesn't swim very much in the 200 fly. And I was happy with Alex Hancock, he had a good day as well. We gave some young guys some chances to win events if they wanted it, and a lot of them took advantage of that chance.”
Auburn's men won 12 of 16 events on the day, including an 11-for-12 record in individual swimming races, while the Tiger women took top honors in 13 of 16 events. Auburn earned sweeps of the top three (or four) spots in six women's events and five men's events.
Junior Peter Haas won his first and second collegiate races, sweeping the breaststroke events. He clocked a 57.07 to touch first in the 100-yard breaststroke – leading a sweep of the top three spots with Chandler Gerlach and Spencer Kerns. Haas then came back to post a 2:04.35 in the 200 breast, winning by nearly four full seconds while leading another sweep with Kyle Owens, Jordan Jones and Gerlach.
Newcomer Antton Haramboure came through in the 1,000 freestyle, posting a time of 9:30.13 to edge teammate Zane Grothe by .31 seconds. Freshman Steyn Funk was third (9:45.62) and sophomore Sam Parker took fourth (9:50.83).
And in the men's 400 individual medley, freshman Jordan Jones got his first win as a Tiger with a 3:56.72, leading a top-four sweep for Auburn. Alex Hancock was second in 3:57.14, with Chris Kramer third and Tommy McKee fourth.
Two women's newcomers picked up their initial collegiate victories as well. Freshman Alexandria Merritt took top honors in the 100 butterfly with a time of 55.29, and freshman Caitlyn Forman was the winner in the 100 backstroke with a 55.84, leading a top-three sweep along with Hannah Riordan and Hallie Stupp.
Forman also led off the meet with a win in the 200 medley relay, swimming the leadoff leg as she teamed up with Abby Duncan, Haley Krakoski and Becca Jones for a winning time of 1:42.44. The team of Aubrey Peacock, Lindsey Norberg, Megan Fonteno and Hallie Stupp took second in 1:43.92.
Senior Katie Gardocki remained unbeaten in eight swims so far this year, sweeping the distance freestyle events for the Auburn women. She posted a 10:00.32 in the 1,000 free to win by more than 13 seconds, and then came back later in the meet to clock a 4:53.46 to lead a sweep of the top four spots in the 500 free. Olivia Scott was second with a 4:55.88, Auburn's second-best time this year, while Siena Devenuto took third and Fonteno was fourth.
Another Tiger senior, Micah Lawrence, continued her dominance of the 200 breaststroke as she posted the nation's fourth-fastest time in the race this year, a 2:11.81 to win by more than five seconds. Three other Tigers took the next three spots with Duncan in second and seniors Lauren Norberg and Laura Johnson third and fourth, respectively. Lawrence earned a second win in the final individual event of the meet as she posted a 4:20.42 to win the 400 individual medley by more than six seconds.
Jillian Vitarius kept Auburn newcomers unbeaten in the women's 200 backstroke as the freshman cruised to victory in 1:58.56 for her third win in the event this year; Peacock took second while Forman was third.
Senior Becca Jones led a top-four sweep in the 200 free; she posted a 1:50.36 to narrowly out-touch Scott (1:50.51) and Krakoski (1:50.90) while Lindsey Norberg took fourth (1:52.33). And senior Lauren Norberg also led the way as Auburn swept the top four spots in the 100 breast. Norberg's time of 1:02.02 was just .01 ahead of Duncan (1:02.03), while junior Tryshia Centeno was third and Johnson took fourth.
Krakoski took the win in the 50 free (23.47) with Peacock in second, and Hannah Riordan touched first in the 100 free (50.56) with Scott finishing runner-up. Fonteno was the top Auburn finisher in the 200 fly with a runner-up time of 2:02.74, and sophomore Cinzia Calabretta earned a pair of third-place finishes in 1- and 3-meter diving.
On the men's side, junior Marcelo Chierighini also kept his winning streak alive in the 50 and 100 freestyle, taking the top spot in both sprint freestyle races. He earned his third win in three tries at the 50 free with a 20.17 while Alex Hancock took second in 20.68. Chierighini then came back with a 44.32 to win the 100 free with teammate James Disney-May taking second place in 44.99.
The other five Auburn wins were spread among five different athletes, most of whom were swimming in their lesser-known events. Kyle Owens earned a victory in the 200 free with a 1:39.85; Tommy McKee finished as the runner-up. James Disney-May took the top spot in the 100 back in 49.89, just ahead of Brandon Siemasko, but Siemasko would come back to earn a victory in the 200 back (1:51.16).
Zane Grothe earned his third win in three tries this season at the 500 free with a 4:35.20, and Stuart Ferguson came away with a winning time of 1:49.99 in the 200 fly.
In men's diving, sophomore Fraser McKean was the runner-up in the 1-meter event with a 342.23, and junior John Santeiu took second place in the 3-meter event with a score of 359.55.
Auburn wrapped up the day with a pair of victories in the 200 freestyle relay. The women's “C” relay squad of Krakoski, Fonteno, Caroline Bryant and Lauren Norberg led a sweep of the top three spots with a time of 1:34.97, and the men's top team of Chierighini, Owens, Youssef Hammoud and Kevin Behrens clocked a winning time of 1:22.47.
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