AUBURN, AL, January 20. THE Auburn swimming and diving program will close the books on the home portion of the 2004-05 dual meet season on Friday, Jan. 21, when AU plays host to Florida in what Auburn sources say could play out as one of the most exciting dual meets of the season.
“Florida traditionally has had a great swimming program and they are again. Their strength is in their depth, although they arguably have the top swimmer in the conference in Ryan Lochte. The challenge for our guys is, whatever event he (Ryan) is in, to try and be competitive with him. On the women’s side, again their strength is depth. If you look at their top 10 and then their next 10, they are as good as anyone in the nation, including Auburn, Georgia and Arizona,” AU Coach David Marsh said. “This is one of those meets that most likely wont be decided by first-place finishes but rather second-, third- and fourth-place finishes where depth starts kicking in.”
The AU men will find themselves in an unfamiliar position on Friday as the Tigers are ranked No. 3 and the Gators are No. 2, marking the first time that the Tigers are not the higher-ranked team in a dual meet since Jan. 9, 2003, when fourth-ranked Auburn knocked off second-ranked Texas. AU would go on to win the first of two straight NCAA titles that year.
It will be another two vs. three match on the women’s side, though it will be the Auburn women who hold the higher ranking in that match-up. It will also be the third straight year that both Auburn and Florida are ranked in the top three in the polls.
The meet will be the final home meet for the 12 Auburn seniors. On the men’s side, Chad Barlow, Fred Bousquet, Matt Bricker, BJ Jones, Nate Knopf, Andrew Sivulka and Ryan Wochomurka have contributed to 28 dual meet wins against zero losses, have won three SEC titles and two NCAA titles. With a win over Florida and Florida State to close out their careers, this group would become just the first AU men’s team to ever send out a senior class without ever suffering a dual meet loss.
Tallied together by individual accomplishments, this class has won 21 SEC titles and seven NCAA titles to go along with 50 NCAA All-American honors.
The story is also the same on the women’s side as Jenni Anderson, Kirsty Coventry, Margaret Hoelzer, Rachel Korth and Alessandra Lawless will all close out their collegiate careers following the NCAA Championships. During their four-year run, the five of them have won three NCAA titles, two SEC titles and 25 dual meets, with their lone dual meet loss coming to Georgia earlier this season. Collectively, they have garnered 22 SEC titles, 12 NCAA titles and 43 NCAA All-American honors.
The first 300 fans through the door will receive a limited edition David Marsh bobble head doll. The senior-day ceremonies begin at 5:45 p.m. CT and admission is free. Tiger, Auburn University’s icon, War Eagle VI, will also be at the meet and will be available for pictures with the fans.