Buoyed by victories in three events, Stanford took an early lead over defending champion Auburn on the first day of the 75th Annual Men's NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships at the Martin Aquatics Center in Auburn, Alabama. Stanford scored 183 points to Auburn's 154 in the first of three final sessions in the meet. Texas held third place in the team standings with 129 points, followed by Tennessee (82) and Arizona (64).
The Cardinal 200 freestyle relay team won the opening event in NCAA-record time to edge Auburn by .43 second. Stanford's time of 1:16.76 broke the old mark of 1:16.93 set by Stanford in 1994. The new record splits were 19.66 (Anthony Robinson), 18.79 (Sabir Muhammad), 19.39 (Justin Ewers) and 18.92 (Scott Claypool).
The Stanford 400 medley relay team of Tate Blahnik, Tom Wilkens, Sabir Muhammad and Dod Wales also swam to victory over runner-up Auburn, 3:07.73 to 3:09.38. The event's fastest legs were recorded by Texas backstroker Neil Walker (46.94), Tennessee breaststroker Jeremy Linn (52.13), SMU butterflyer Lars Frolander (45.00) and Stanford freestyler Dod Wales (42.13).
Stanford got an individual win from team captain Tom Wilkens, who captured the 200 individual medley in 1:45.16 over Auburn junior Lionel Moreau. Wilkens, a senior from Middletown, New Jersey, was fifth in the event last year. In the consolation final of the event, Stanford sophomore Glenn Counts edged his older brother Chris, a senior from Arizona, by a mere 7 hundredths of a second.
Arizona's Ryk Neethling, a sophomore from Bloemfontein, South Africa, took the 500 freestyle title in 4:13.42. The Michigan Wolverines scored big points in one of their traditionally strong events, with junior Tom Malchow and freshman Chris Thompson grabbing second and third.
Another South African, Florida State's Brendon Dedekind, won the 50 freestyle (19.22), whipping one of the fastest fields ever assembled. Dedekind, a junior, beat defending champion Brett Hawke of Auburn and NCAA- record holder Neil Walker of Texas for the title.
Press release from www.auburn.edu/athletics/ncaaswim