By Phillip Whitten
COLLEGE STATION, Texas, March 18. NOT a single point has been tallied yet, but the double-defending NCAA champion Auburn University women’s swimming and diving team has already established itself as the odds-on favorite to threepeat.
In this morning’s prelim, six events were contested. Auburn had the fastest time in only one – Kirsty Coventry’s NCAA record-breaking 2:09.34 in the 200m IM. But there were Tigers everywhere: second (by .060 in the 200 free relay: sixth in the 400 free; first, eighth and 12th in the 200 IM; second, third, fifth, eighth, and 13th in the 50 free; second in the one-meter diving; and, using a prelims-only team, 7th in the 400 medley relay.
If everyone on Auburn swims the same place this evening as she did this morning, the Tigers will amass 185 point.
The only team even close is Georgia, who projects at 140 points. The Dawgs qualified first in the 200 free relay with an American/NCAA record and first in the 400 medley relay, only a second off the American/NCAA (and school) record.
The rest of the field is more than 50 points behind Georgia.
Here’s how this morning’s prelims project:
1. Auburn 185
2. Georgia 140
3. Florida 85
4. Arizona 78
5. Stanford 72
5. Cal 72
7. Texas 67
8. UCLA 66
9. Michigan 55
10. Wisconsin 53
11. S. Carolina 50