AUBURN, Alabama, October 3. IN one of the earliest starts in recent history, the Auburn men's and women's swimming teams began the 2005-06 season on a good note by sweeping their season-opening dual meet against Southeastern Conference foe South Carolina on Friday evening at the James E. Martin Aquatics Center. The men downed the Gamecocks 124-70, while the women defeated South Carolina, 119 81.
"It's really early in the season and we're just getting in shape," head coach David Marsh said. "It was pretty hard to get ready this early in the season and it isn't natural to have an event this early. I probably won't (schedule a meet) this early again, but the team needed it because they needed to see where we are."
The Tigers earned victories in 15 of the 22 events between both the men's and women's teams. For the women, AU took seven of the 11 events. Individually, junior Adrienne Binder won the first individual title for the Tigers, as she took the 1000 free with a 9:59.15. The next win for the women was in the 50 free, where sophomore Emily Kukors finished at 23.63. Also winning was sophomore Julie Stupp in the 200 I.M. in a time of 2:05.21. Freshman Emily Ewing won the first race of her career, claiming the 100 free in a time of 52.34.
Rounding out the victories for the women were senior Lauren Duerk in the 200 back, who went 2:03.05, and junior Hayley Peirsol, who claimed the 500 free in 4:54.03. The lone relay victory for the women was in the 200 medley relay to open the meet. The Tigers finished with a time of 1:44.90.
On the men's side, the Tigers won eight of 11 events, highlighted by sophomore Alexei Puninski's two victories in the 100 and 200 free. Puninski won the 100 free with a time of 45.44 and the 200 in 1:41.07. Freshman Anthony Fleming was victorious in his first race, winning the 1000 free in a time of 9:25.09. Another freshman made his mark early, as Matt Targett claimed the 50 free in a time of 20.62.
Junior Mark Johnson notched his first win of the year, as he posted a 1:53.57 in the 200 I.M. Senior captain Eric Shanteau grabbed a victory in the 200 butterfly in a time of 1:49.70. Redshirt freshman James Wike won the 200 back in a time of 1:49.00. In relays, the men's lone victory came in the 200 medley relay. Auburn finished with a time of 1:31.83.
Auburn returns to action on Friday, Oct. 14, as it hosts Indiana at 6:30 p.m. in the James E. Martin Aquatics Center.