AUBURN, Alabama, November 11. THE No. 5-ranked Auburn men's swimming and diving team moved to 3-0 on the season with a 156-87 victory over No. 9 Georgia, and the sixth-ranked Auburn women lost a hard-fought battle to the No. 1 Lady Bulldogs, 133-110, on Friday at the James E. Martin Aquatics Center.
Auburn's men (3-0, 2-0 SEC) won nine of 13 events against the Bulldogs (2-1-1, 0-1-1 SEC) and won in their home pool for the ninth straight time, dating back to the 2008-09 season. The Tiger women (3-1, 1-1 SEC) won six events on the day and had numerous season-best swims, while Georgia (4-0, 2-0 SEC) won its 17th straight dual meet and 50th out of its last 51 outings.
"This was an outstanding meet today," Auburn head coach Brett Hawke said. "One of the best SEC dual meets I've been a part of. Both teams came ready to race today, and it was just a great battle from start to finish. Our women stepped up and were ready to race, and they put us in a position to challenge. Really proud of them."
Seven different Tigers contributed individual wins on the day with Auburn's sprinters coming up in a big way throughout the meet. Senior Karl Krug, last week's SEC Swimmer of the Week, led the way with a season-best 20.08 in the 50 freestyle, leading a sweep of the top four spots in the race with TJ Leon (20.38), Marcelo Chierighini (20.44) and Chris Manning (20.49) just behind.
Like last week's meet, Krug was part of both winning relays. He swam the anchor leg on the meet-opening 200 medley relay team along with Kyle Owens, Stuart Ferguson and Nimrod Hayet, winning the race in a season-best, NCAA `B' cut time of 1:28.99. Krug also swam the second leg on the meet's final event, helping Chierighini, James Disney-May and Drew Modrov to a season-best 2:57.53, lowering the team's NCAA `B' cut time by more than three seconds.
Disney-May got his first collegiate individual win with a season-best 44.13 in the 100 free, leading another top-four sweep with Chierighini (44.48), Modrov (44.67) and Manning (45.17) not far behind.
Owens posted Auburn's best time of the year in the 200 individual medley, earning his second NCAA `B' cut of the year with a 1:48.29. And Modrov posted a team-best 1:37.90 in the 200 free to earn a runner-up finish and his first individual `B' cut of the year.
Max Murphy won for the third straight time this season in the 200 backstroke, posting a time of 1:46.79 that was just .01 shy of his season-best and .19 shy of an NCAA `B' cut. And Nimrod Hayet got another victory in the 200 butterfly with a time of 1:50.21.
"The men are coming together well as a team," Hawke said. "We're really competing as a unit. That's what you want to see at this time of the year."
In the diving well, senior Adam Godzinski earned the first win of his collegiate career with a career-best 366.53 on the 3-meter boards; teammate John Santeiu was a close second with a 362.18. Santeiu would earn his fourth victory of the season later in the 1-meter event, posting a 351.98 to outscore freshman teammate Fraser McKean by just more than half a point (351.45).
"I was really excited for Adam on 3-meter," Auburn diving coach Jeff Shaffer said. "He finally stepped up and did a full list of dives, and that was really encouraging to see him start to develop the consistency we will need at SECs. John was very consistent, and Fraser did a great job stepping up on 1-meter; those guys went down to the last dive."
On the women's side, senior Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace continued her dominance of the sprint events, winning all three races in which she competed. She posted a 22.31 in the 50 free to earn her first win of the day with teammate Hannah Riordan in second place (23.00), and she came back in the 100 free with a season-best 48.32 to lower her NCAA `B' cut time by more than four-tenths of a second.
She was also the anchor leg of Auburn's 400 freestyle relay, splitting a smooth 48.79 to help the team of Riordan, Emily Bos and Olivia Scott to a time of 3:18.45, shaving more than six seconds off the team's best time from earlier in the year.
"Arianna had a great meet today," Hawke said. "Her 50 free is just sizzling, and she was big for us on the relays. Our relays are red-hot right now, we're really happy with where they are. We're at the top of the nation across the board, so we're really happy with how the relays are coming together."
The women's 200 medley relay opened things up with a win as Bos, Abby Duncan, Scott and Riordan sprinted to a 1:40.19, their fastest of the season and an improvement on what was already an NCAA `B' cut time.
Two more Auburn wins came courtesy of senior diver Vennie Dantin, who continued her early-season dominance of both boards. She started the day off with a 1-meter win, scoring 298.50 as senior Anna Aguero (287.85) took second and freshman Cinzia Calabretta (257.70) was third. On the 3-meter board, Dantin breezed to a win with a score of 344.40 with Calabretta second in 283.28.
"Vennie was consistent, but probably not as sharp as she's been in some of the previous meets," Shaffer said. "It's about having a higher level of focus and finishing dives. Cinzia did a great job and made some good corrections on 3-meter to get second, and Shanna (Schuelein) continues to improve. Overall, I'm pleased with the progress we're making and where we are at this time of year."
Three more Auburn women posted NCAA `B' cut times in their respective events. Scott came through with her second NCAA `B' cut of the season, clocking an Auburn season-best 1:48.14 in the 200 freestyle to finish fourth. Bos also bettered her `B' cut time in the 200 backstroke with a season-best 1:56.98, finishing just .04 seconds behind the winner. And Lauren Norberg went 2:15.27 to eclipse the `B' standard for the fourth time in four tries this year.
Junior Katie Gardocki posted a career-best time in the 1000 free, touching the wall in 9:44.56 to finish third. And freshman Sarah Peterson recorded Auburn's best time of the year in the 200 IM, swimming a 2:03.81 for a third-place finish. She also posted her best time of the year in the 200 fly, posting a 2:04.40 for another third-place showing.
The Auburn divers will head to Atlanta next weekend for the Georgia Tech Diving Invitational, and the full squad will next be in action Dec. 2-4, wrapping up the fall season at the Georgia Fall Invitational.
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