FEDERAL WAY, Washington, March 29. THE Arizona Wildcats ended the NCAA Division I Men's Championships with an exclamation point when Joel Greenshields put together a monster anchor leg to win the 400 free relay title. The win also completed an awe-inspiring run by the Wildcats during which the team won its first men's NCAA title.
Albert Subirats (42.52), Darian Townsend (41.78), Nicolas Nilo (42.46) and Greenshields (42.25) emerged from the heated battle with the victory in 2:49.01. That returned the title back to Arizona that the Wildcats had won in 2006.
Auburn had a full second lead at the final exchange as Cesar Cielo (41.12), Alexei Puninski (41.96) and Kohlton Norys (42.69) compiled a 2:05.77 heading into the final leg. Arizona stood at 2:06.76 at the time, however Greenshields stormed past Steve Scheren, who posted a 43.71, en route to a 2:49.48.
Cielo gave Auburn a huge advantage after the leadoff leg when he clocked a 41.12 to tie himself for the second-fastest time ever in the 100 free. His best time came with a U.S. Open and NCAA record time of 40.92 during his individual victory earlier in the evening.
California's William Copeland, Jernej Godec, Joe Whittington and Dominik Meichtry placed third in 2:50.87.
Arizona completed the meet with a tally of 500.5 to claim its first men's NCAA title in swimming and diving. Meanwhile, Texas finished 94.5 points behind with a second-place 406. Stanford (344), California (332.5) and defending champs Auburn (316) rounded out the top five.
The rest of the top 10 went as follows: Michigan (271.5), Georgia (229), Florida (210), Tennessee (172) and Indiana (166).
With the team title, Frank Busch becomes only the second coach to ever helm a merged program to both women's and men's NCAA titles in a single year. David Marsh of Auburn is the only other coach to do so.
Arizona's victory also ended the five-year winning streak by Auburn (2003-07), just one shy of the overall gold standard set by Indiana when the Doc Counsilman-led Hoosiers rang off six straight wins from 1968 to 1973.