AUBURN, Ala., February 22. WHEN it was all over, when the last splash was splashed, the last award given and the applause had finally died down, David Marsh could only feel a sigh of relief and a sense of great
His Auburn Tigers women's and men's swimming teams, HIS teams, the teams he had nutured, cajoled — nay, driven into being the "best they could be," had just won the Southeastern Conference Championships after all the buildup, all the hoopla and above all …all the hype.
"Yes, we felt the pressure going in but we responded like the champions these teams are," Marsh said. "We knew every school in the conference would be after us, what with the meet being at our home pool and all, but we just went out and performed and you see the results."
The results show the Tigers winning both the women's and men's championships for the first time ever.
Auburn has won nine of the last 10 SEC men's titles but had never won a women's crown until this evening, despite the fact that they're defending NCAA Division 1 champs. Florida's women were defending league titleists.
Auburn thus becomes only the second school besides Florida to win both a women's and a men's title, let alone do it in the same season. The last time this feat was acconplished was by Florida a decade ago,
Auburn's men scored 918.5 points, most-ever in a championship, The previous record was 864 by Florida. The Tiger women scored 845 to secure their
initial title. Last year, Auburn scored 766 to win the men's title while Florida scored 742.5 to win the women's.
"I told our kids, 'Don't even think about [NCAAs] until Monday,'" Marsh added. "I told them to savor the moment, enjoy their championships and Monday we go back to work."
Auburn is host institution for the NCAA women's DI Championship that begins March 20 while Texas is the site of the men's meet beginning a week later.
"I am very pleased with the performance of our team," Marsh said. "I do not want the team to think about the NCAA Championships, they need to soak in this one. This win is worthy of a celebration. I want them to understand the magnitude of this event. It is an incredible accomplishment."
* * * * *
Auburn received solid performances from all its swimmers and divers but four standout in particular. First is sophomore backstroker Margaret Hoelzer, who set an SEC record en route to the 200 title (nation-leading 1:52.83), a time which makes her the second-fastest performer of all-time.
Next, junior dorsal specialist Bryce Hunt, who similarly set an SEC record in the 200 (1:41.73) and as was the case with Hoelzer the No. 1 national time.
Then there's freshman sprinter-flyer Fred Bousquet, who won the 50 free opening-night, set an SEC record enrotue to the gold in the 100 fly Friday evening and tonight took a bronze in the 100 free (pr 43.02). To make sure he didn't feel unappreciated, Marsh had his French import also anchor the winning 200-400 medley relays.
But Bousquet's evening of work was far from done after the 100 free, indeed not.
After Florida's Carlos Jayme set an SEC record while winning the 100 free (42.89), Bousquets and Marsh huddled, deep in conference. Neither was willing to reveal what sas said but this much is known: with the meet well in hand Auburn could have tanked the 400 free relay — the final event of the program — and saved its Big Guns for NCAAs.
Not a chance.
With Bousquet leading off in an SEC recofrd-breaking 42.63, Auburn set a conference-record with its national No. 1 2:51.96. Florida was second in 2:55.29.
"Oh, no, we wouldn't have considered that [easing up on the relay]. We're here to swim fast, that's our whole objective. Fred thought he had a chance at bettering (Jayme's) record so we had him lead off. Pretty smart, eh?"
What was even smarter was recruitng Bousquet in the first place. He was a talent, to be sure, but an unknown one and Marsh took a big gamble in saving a
scholarship for him earlier this year. The whole scenario could have backfired but instead it gave the Tigers the one big "horse" they needed to be competitive with Cal and Florida in the sprints.
Auburn diver Caeser Garcia also contributed mightily to the Tger victory, winning the platform diving competition tonight after taking silver on the 3-meter. He won by more than 100 points too with 672.50.
* * * * *
Florida freshman Ryan Lochte got the Gators off to a fast start when he stroked to a pr 14:55.03 to win the 1650 free, giving him four golds for the meet
(he also scored wins in the 500 free-400 IM and led off Florida's SEC record-setting 800 free relay.(
The Tigers' B.J. Jones finished fourth in a season-best 15:15.03 and teammate Magda Dyszkiewicz took second for the women with an NCAA "A" cut of 16:17.42. Florida's Sara McLarty, who scored a gold in the 500 free, won with an "A" cut 16:07.45.
"I am happy to put points on the board for Auburn," Dyszkiewicz said. "I wasn't completely happy with my swim time, but I'll take it and swim better next race."
Continuing Auburn's record-breaking style was Bryce Hunt who recorded an SEC-record in the 200-backstroke with his No. 1 national 1:41.73. The previous record was set in 2000 by Florida's Matt Cole (1:41.76). Hunt has been chasing this title for the last three years as he finished second in 2002, third in 2001. He's now 12th on the all-time performers' list with
the 21st-fastest performance.
"I am thrilled to death to finally win this event," Hunt said. "I had some great competition in this race and that pushed me. I am a little surprised at how fast my time was, but setting the SEC record is awesome."
Perhaps drawing inspiration from Hunt's swim, Tiger Hoelzer,, who won the SEC 200 back title as a frshman last season and had a pr of 1:54.54 from last season's NCAAs, next stepped up to the blocks to defend her title. Exactly 1:52.83 later she emerged with her second goal in as many tries, the SEC-record and she's now No. 2 all-time on the al-time peformers' list.
Teammate Kristy Coventry challenged Hoelzer throughout the race, but finished second for the second-consecutive year. However, if it's any consolation, she is also under the old SEC-record of 1:53.87 by Georgia's Keegan Walkley.
How good is 1:52.83? Well, in addition to becoming the second-best performer in the race's history Hoelzer also is now No. 5 on the performances' list, surpassing Texas' Whitney Hedgepeth's 1:52.98 that won
NCAAs at Austin 11 years ago. But she's got a ways to go before she's going to catch No. 1, the double-defending NCAA champ, won won at Austin last season in 1:49.52 — the curent American/NCAA standard.
This person — who for obvious reasons shall forever remain anonymous but whose intitials are "NC" — also has perforamcnes 2-4 too.
"I certainly did not think I would go this fast tonight; I was hoping to go around 1:53," Hoelzer said. "This morning I held back because the goal was
just to get into finals and then bust out tonight. I have the 200 fly soon after this, so I have to conserve my energy wherever I can."
After setting an SEC record in the 100 freestyle in the heats, Tiger sophomore Ryan Wochomurka matched his morning time of 42.98 thjis evening but placed second behind Florida's Jayme's record-breaking 42.89. Bousquet and Matt Kidd, a British Olympian, took third and fourth for the home team and Bousquet made short shrift of that 42.8 record a bit later.
Auburn had five finalists in the women's 100 freestyle but none were quick enough to catch defending NCAA champ Maritza Correia of Georgia, who clocked a pr and SEC-record 47.49 to win — .02 off the American/NCAA record. Ritzy stays No. 2 on both the all-time performers' and performances' lists. No. 1? The same woman who also holds Ameican/NCAA records in the 200 free, the 100-200 yard backstrokes and the 100-200 yard butterflys. Oh, she's also wrold record-holder in the 100 merer backstroke and the only woman ever under 1:00.0 for that race.
Tiger junior Eileen Coparropa, who won golds at last fall's Central American-Carribbean Games in the 50-100 frees for her native Panana, was second in 48.69. Her time is a pr and Auburn record too, not to mention an
NCAA auto cut. Third was teammate Becky Short (48.45) who went a swift 49.03 in the prelims to also make the "A" standard.
"It was a hard race. It was actually a unique race in that I got to swim with so many of my teammates. That usually doesn't happen very often. It allowed me to be confident," Coparropa said. "I am not upset at all. I swam a great race. I set a new Auburn record and am very pleased with my swim."
Geogia recorded its first men's victory of the Championship when junior breaststroker Kyle Salyardes won in an "A" cut 1:55.67, tying his Bulldog record from last year's NCAAs. Runner-up was Alabama freshman Vladimir Polyakov (pr 1:56.67) while Auburn swept the three, four and five positions as Justin Caron clocked a seasonal pr 1:56.92, Mark Gangloff finished fourth, also with (1:58.32) and 100 breast champ Pat Calhoun was fifth (1:58.50).
The women's 200 breast saw Alabama's Ann Poleska, defending SEC champ and record-holder too, set a pool-record with her 2:09.02, just shy of her conference-record 2:08.85 from two years ago. Her Crimson Tide record is 2:07.86 from last year's NCAAs, ranking her fourth and sixth on the all-time performers and performances' lists. She's a member of her native Germany's national team and will be looking to medal at this summer's World Championships in Barcelona.
Runner-up was Georgia freshman Sarah Poewe,(2:12.13). Poewe in the past has represented South Africa internationally but is now a German citizen and is
hopeful of joining Poleska at Barcelona in July — depending on the outcome of the German Trials in a couple of months. Auburn's Laura Swander (2:13.60) took the bronze.
* * * * *
The final two individual rces, the 200 butterflys, saw more record-breaking On the women's side, Georgia's Mary DeScenza — hoping to be the second-coming of you-know–who — went a pr, Georgia and SEC-record 1:54.80, breaking the old conference mark of 1:55.97 by Florida's Rebecca Harper from last season. Her time now ranks her seventh on the all-time performers' list (17th-performance) and she's also No. 2 nationally to Cal's Natalie Coughlin's American/NCAA-record 1:51.91 from the Tiger Invitational here in early December. DeScenza and Coughlin were World Championship teammates two summers ago in Fukuoka and they'll have a reunion in a month here when NCAAs open.
Inteerestingly, Harper was in tonight's final but finished third behind Auburn's Hoelzer, who went 1:57.27 for second. Harper clocked 1:57.57.
On the men's side,Alabama's Stefan Gherghel, defending NCAA champ, won with his pool-record 1:43.09. Auburn's
Jeremy Knowles went a pr 1:44.16 for the silver and teamamte Andy Haidinyk was third (1:44.48). Gherghel's
time vaults him into the No. 2 spot nationally, only trailing Arizona's Juan Veloz's 1:42.72 from the Longhorn Invitational atAustin in December. Veloz
will have an opportunity to imrpove upon his pr and perhaps break former Stanford great Pablo Morales' conference-record of 1:42.60 when the Pac-10 has its meet at Belmont Plaza starting March 6.
All that remained now was the 400 sprint relay and with Bousquet leading off in an SEC record-breaking and national No. 1:42.69, the Tigers broke the SEC
record with their 2:51.96. The women followed suit wati a 3:16.75 victory and that was that.
For whatever reason, Georgia coach Jack Bauerle opted not to use Correia on the 400 free relay and the
'Dawgs were second in 3:19+. At NCAAs last year,
Correia set the then record en route to gold in the 100 free (47.56), only to have Coughlin lead off the Golden Bears' 400 relay in 47.47 — the current American/NCAA recoord.
It will be interesting to see how it all plays out in am onth here but onething's certain: to "beat the champ" you have to "beat the champ" and so far this season's nobody's been able to do that on either the women's or men's side agaisnt Auburn.
The Fat lady has just begun her tune.!
SEC Men's and Women's Swimming and Diving Championships
James E. Martin Aquatic Center
Day Four: Saturday, February 22, 2003
Men's Final Standings:
1. Auburn 918.5 (SEC Record)
2. Florida 680
3. Georgia 492.5
4. Tennessee 455
5. Alabama 376
6. Kentucky 270.5
7. LSU 218
8. South Carolina 188.5
Men's High Point Scorer: Ryan Lochte, Florida
Women's Final Standing:
1. Auburn 841.5
2. Florida 685
3. Georgia 648.5
4. Alabama 316
5. Tennessee 278
6. South Carolina 260
7. LSU 247
8. Arkansas 244
9. Kentucky 212
Women's High Point Scorer:
Maggie Bowen, Auburn, 60
Event 29- Men's 1650-Yard Freestyle
Lochte Florida 14:55.03
2. Matt Owen Georgia 15:09.75
3. Robert Margalis Georgia 15:13.25
4. BJ Jones Auburn 15:15.03
5. Jan Wolfgarten Florida 15:16.64
6. Scott Kaufmann Florida 15:17.69
7. George duRand Tennessee 15:20.45
Hartley Florida 15:22.34
Event 30- Women's 1650-Yard Freestyle
1. Sara McLarty Florida 16:07.45
2. Magda Dyskiewicz Auburn 16:17.42
3. Meredith Green Florida 16:20.18
4. Julie Hardt Georgia 16:27.83
Lynn Arkansas 16:27.95
6. Laura Conway Georgia 16:33.96
Tannhauser Florida 16:39.80
8. Stephanie Smith LSU 16:41.46
Event 31- Women's Platform Diving
1. Kylee Wells Tennessee 452.95
2. Barb Gorst LSU 451.15
3. Kelsey Patterson Auburn 424.30
4. Stacy Binyon Tennessee 386.15
5. Ashley Rubenstein Auburn 378.00
6. Katheryn Bortenlanger Alabama 377.70
7. Jessica Thompson Kentucky 366.95
8. Crystal Rasmussen Alabama 329.15
Event 32- Men's 200-Yard Backstroke
1. Bryce Hunt Auburn 1:41.73 (SEC
2. Chris Kellam Florida 1:42.57
3. Joey Faltraco Kentucky 1:42.99
4. Kris Wiebeck Florida 1:44.61
5. Paulo Machado Tennessee 1:45.39
6. Chad Barlow Auburn 1:45.42
7. Claudio Ulrich Florida 1:46.91
8. George duRand Tennessee 1:47.23
Event 33- Women's 200-Yard Backstroke
1. Margaret Hoelzer Auburn 1:52.83 (SEC,
2. Kirsty Coventry Auburn 1:53.87
3. Jamie Reid Florida 1:55.01
4. Maureen Farrell Florida 1:55.24
5. Erin Volcan Auburn 1:57.22
6. Lauren Gettel Georgia 1:57.71
6. Jacque Fessel Tennessee 1:57.71
8. Jeri Moss Auburn 2:00.78
Event 34- Men's 100-Yard Freestyle
1. Carlos Jayme Florida 42.89
2. Ryan Wochomurka Auburn 42.98
3. Fred Bousquet Auburn 43.02
4. Matt Kidd Auburn 43.60
5. Renato Gueraldi Tennessee 43.88
6. Derek Gibb Auburn 44.04
7. Matt Brado Georgia 44.12
8. Apostolis Tsagarakis Alabama 44.17
Event 35- Women's 100-Yard Freestyle
1. Maritza Correia Georgia 47.49 (SEC, Pool
2. Eileen Coparropa Auburn 48.69
3. Becky Short Auburn 49.45
4. Jenn VanAssen South Carolina 49.51
5. Heather Kemp Auburn 50.27
6. Chantal Gibney Florida 50.31
7. Leslie Johns Arkansas 50.56
8. Jenni Anderson Auburn 51.21
Event 36- Men's 200-Yard Breaststroke
1. Kyle Salyards Georgia 1:55.67
2. Vladislav Polyakov Alabama 1:56.57
3. Justin Caron Auburn 1:56.92
4. Mark Gangloff Auburn 1:58.32
5. Pat Calhoun Auburn 1:58.50
6. Michael Russo Tennessee 1:58.70
7. Eric Shanteau Auburn 1:58.79
8. Philip Norris Florida 1:59.81
Event 37- Women's 200-Yard Breaststroke
1. Anne Poleska Alabama 2:09.03 (Pool
2. Vipa Bernhardt Florida 2:09.17
3. Sarah Poewe Georgia 2:12.13
4. Laura Swander Auburn 2:13.60
5. Danielle Duncan Florida 2:14.80
6. Lauren Duerk Auburn 2:16.27
7. Cissy Schepens LSU 2:16.90
8. Mandy Huff Florida 2:18.06
Event 38- Men's 200-Yard Butterfly
1. Stefan Gherghel Alabama 1:43.09 (Pool Record)
2. Jeremy Knowles Auburn 1:44.16
3. Andy Haidinyak Auburn 1:44.49
4. Andrew Mahaney Georgia 1:45.72
4. Daniel Cruz Kentucky 1:45.72
6. Randy Lam Georgia 1:45.81
7. Jamie Graves Tennessee 1:46.17
8. Joey Faltraco Kentucky 1:46.77
Event 39- Women's 200-Yard Butterfly
1. Mary DeScenza Georgia 1:54.80 (SEC Record)
2. Margaret Hoelzer Auburn 1:57.27
3. Rebecca Harper Florida 1:57.57
4. Victoria Genova Alabama 1:58.91
5. Alessandra Lawless Auburn 1:59.12
6. Katie Yevak Georgia 1:59.34
7. Noelle Bassi Tennessee 1:59.49
8. Casey Seland Florida 2:00.83
Event 40- Men's Platform Diving
1. Caesar Garcia Auburn 672.50
2. Clayton Moss Kentucky 564.45
3. Zach Wilcox Florida 496.85
4. Todd Avery Georgia 482.95
5. Kyle VanArsdall LSU 448.65
6. Stewart Smith Alabama 428.30
7. Jake Dorsey Tennessee 404.45
8. John Venditti Tennessee 387.80
Event 41- Men's 400-Yard Freestyle Relay
1. Auburn 2:51.96 (SEC Record)
Fred Bousquet, Derek Gibb, Matt Kidd, Ryan Wochomurka
2. Florida 2:55.29
Scott Schultz, Carlos Jayme, Gabriel Mangabeira, Adam Sioui
3. Alabama 2:55.35
Spiros Bitsakis, Apostolis Tsagarakis, Darren Erasmus, Stefan Gherghel
4. Kentucky 2:56.93
Daniel Farnham, Fernando Barros, Daniel Cruz, Steven Manley
5. LSU 2:59.93
Francisco Paez, Chris Stanczyk, Mike Jotautas, Mathew Rucker
6. South Carolina 2:59.67
Tamas Szucs, Chris McCrary, Ed Murphy, Josh Parkin
7. Georgia 2:59.92
Matt Brado, Josh Laban, Scott Gardner, Damian Alleyne
8. Tennessee 3:00.22
Raymond Rosal, Tyler Gustafson, Greg Simpson, Jason Baxter
Event 42- Women's 400-Yard Freestyle Relay
1. Auburn 3:16.75
Kirsty Coventry, Eileen Coparropa, Becky Short, Maggie Bowen
2. Georgia 3:19.12
Paige Kearns, Neka Mabry, Samantha Arsenault, Mary DeScenza
3. Florida 3:20.69
Maureen Farrell, Chantal Gibney, Marietta Uhle, Diane Tennison
4. South Carolina 3:22.76
Ashleigh Bastak, Haley Skaggs, Carolynn McHugh, Jenn VanAssen
5. Arkansas 3:23.06
Zsuzsu Csobanki, Peggy Stoner, Cheyne Bees, Leslie Johns
6. Alabama 3:24.31
Anna Grant, Candace Weiman, Eleonora Markou, Anne Poleska
7. LSU 3:25.64
Margaret Beadle, Donna Leslie, Laura Leninger, Julie Johnson
8. Tennessee 3:26.55
Bethany Hall, Courtney Naparlo, Taryn Ternent, Abbi Terveer