AUBURN, Alabama, February 20. THE Auburn women’s swimming and diving team stormed back to within eight points on day three of the SEC Championship, cutting Florida’s lead by 33 points and passing Georgia in the process. The Auburn men’s team continued to dominate, watching their lead grow to
182.5 over second-place Florida.
The day’s events came to an exciting end as the men’s and women’s
400 MR teams recorded huge victories. The women’s team, 14 points
back of Florida needed the win to continue chipping away at the Gator
lead and keep the momentum heading into Saturday’s finale. The relay
team of Rachel Goh, Micah Lawrence, Ava Ohlgren and Ariana
Vanderpool-Wallace posted an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 3:31.28
– a new SEC record.
Just minutes before, the men’s 400 MR team hit a new SEC record of
their own – a 3:04.58. The team of Pascal Wollach, Adam Klein, Logan
Madson and Matt Targettt beat Georgia relay by nearly five seconds.
Ava Ohlgren got the day started as she shattered her own SEC record in
the 400 IM, increasing Auburn’s win streak in the event to 10 years.
Ohlgren’s time of 4:03.70 is the second fastest 400 IM of all time. The
two-time NCAA Champion has now accumulated a total of five individual
Ohlgren won the women’s 400 IM prelims, touching in at 4:09.21.
Earlier this season, the 2008 400 IM Champion’s previous top-time was
4:06.80 at the 2008 USA Short Course Championships. Her victory is the
10th consecutive 400 IM title in a row for Auburn and the 12th overall.
Auburn Olympian Matt Targett set the new SEC 100 fly record, swimming a
45.02 to undercut former Tiger Alexei Puninski’s previous record of
45.60. Targett’s time was the fifth fastest all-time. Logan Anderson
(45.70) and Tyler McGill (46.00) placed second and third, posting the
third and fourth fastest times in the nation this year. Logan Madson
(46.10) and Jakob Andkjaer (46.49) placed fifth and seventh,
All five Auburn men to compete in 100 fly prelims advanced to the A
finals with four “A” cuts. The old Auburn record of 45.51 was set
by Alexei Puninski at the 2008 SEC Championships.
Junior Pascal Wollach set the new James E. Martin Aquatics Center
record of 46.04 on way to an SEC title in the men’s 100 back. Auburn
has seen recent success in the 100 back after winning the title the four
of the past five years. David Marsh won Auburn’s first title in the
event in 1980. Sophomore Kohlton Norys (46.48) placed third followed by
sophomore Jared White (47.46) in seventh.
“It feels great,” said Wollach. “I should do this more often. I
was struggling a little at the beginning of the year. I took some time
off. I just stuck with my training and mu lifting and it paid off in the
Sophomore Caitlin Geary won the 200 free with a time of 1:43.17, an
NCAA automatic qualifying time and new Auburn record. Auburn has now
won the 200 free five times, including back-to-back victories in 2008
(Emily Kukors) and 2009.
Runner-up in the 2008 200 free event, junior Maggie Bird placed fifth,
touching in at 1:45.27. Chelsea Haser (1:47.33) placed 12th.
Senior Emile Ewing won the 200 free B final, touching in at 1:45.35.
Five Auburn swimmers hit NCAA “A” cuts in the women’s 100 back.
Two-time NCAA Champion Rachel Goh (51.46) led all Tigers in third place,
followed by senior Margo McCawley (51.63) in fourth, junior Alana
Dillette (52.77) in fifth and junior Melissa Marik (52.94) in sixth.
Senior Julianne McLane claimed her NCAA automatic qualifying time of
53.00 while winning the 100 back b final.
In prelims, Goh won the third heat of the women’s 100 back, tying the
previous record of 51.57. In the next heat, Tennessee’s Jennifer
Connolly beat Goh’s new record by one-hundredth of a second. Florida’s
Gemma Spofforth followed in the final heat with the second fastest 100
back ever posted, a new SEC and pool record 50.43.
Auburn advanced three swimmers to the finals of the 100 breast.
Sophomore Adam Klein placed second with an NCAA automatic qualifying
time of 52.73. His mark was the third fastest in Auburn history. Klein
was followed by 2008 SEC Champion Michael Silva (52.88) in fourth and
freshman Genaro Prono (53.94) in seventh.
Freshman Anna Aguero placed third in women’s platform diving. The
Moultrie, Ga., native hit a career high 285.55 through six dives.
The Auburn women qualified four into the finals of the 100 fly. Junior
Alana Dillette led all Tigers, finishing fourth with a time of 52.51.
In the A finals, Dillette was followed by senior Margo McCawley (52.71).
Freshman Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace (53.58) finished 10th while
freshmen Kelsey Winters (53.73) placed 11th.
In the men’s 200 free, Auburn sent three to the finals. Junior
Pascal Wollach led the Tigers in the A final, timing in at 1:35.82 for a
sixth-place finish. Wollach was followed by junior Will Dove (1:36.17)
in seventh and junior Gideon Louw (1:35.44) in 10th.
Freshman Micah Lawrence placed third in the women’s 100 breast. The
Texas state high school champion touched in at 1:00.28 followed by
sophomore Melanie Roberts in fifth swimming a 1:00.55.
Auburn sophomore Andrew Mitchell was the lone Auburn competitor in the
men’s 400 IM prelims, swimming a new top time of 3:52.62 to advance to
the “B” final Friday night. Mitchell swam a 3:55.43, finishing
eighth in the B final.
The 2009 SEC Championship resumes Saturday at 10 a.m. CST with
preliminaries for the 200 backstroke.
Special thanks to Auburn for contributing this report.