EAST MEADOW, New York, March 27. THE Auburn Tigers had long since clinched their second straight men's NCAA crown, but they were greedy: they wanted to score the highest point total in NCAA history.
To do that, they'd have to win the final event: the 400 freestyle relay. But the field was both tough and deep, and Auburn had qualified sixth in the prelims.
That sounds like a job for: the Four Horsemen.
So in they came. George Bovell led off in 47.06, a time bettered only by Ian Crocker's 46.33 — history's second-fastest 100 meters –in the consolation final.
Auburn was mercilessly consistent. Ryan Wochomurka followed Bovell in 47.16. Then came Derek Gibb, the fastest swimmer Alaska has ever produced, in 47.51. Fred Bousquet issued the coup de grace with his 47.12-second anchor leg.
That adds up to 3:08.85 — almost a second faster than the world record of 3:09.57 by Sweden in 2000. But since there were three different nationalities represented on the Auburn team, their time won't be recognized as a world record. It does stand, however, as the new NCAA record.
Cal was second in 3:10.68.
With the win, Auburn finished with a record 634 points — two more than Stanford scored in 1992.
Stanford was second with 377.5 points and Texas third with 374. Arizona (322), Michigan (271), Florida (266), Cal (255.5), Tennessee (140), Minnesota (130) and Georgia (112.5) rounded out the top ten teams.