ATHENS, Georgia, December 3. THE Auburn swimming and diving team opened the first day of competition Friday at the Georgia Invitational and picked up six titles at the end of competition at the Gabrielson Natatorium. The Tigers swept all of the relay events and both the men and women’s 50 free.
The Auburn men stand in first with 303 points, while host Georgia is in second with 232 points. Minnesota is third (227) and Virginia (170) and Penn State (127) close out the field. The Bulldog women are first with 378 points and Auburn is second with 232 points. Penn State is third (171), Virginia is fourth (127), Kansas fifth (106), Harvard sixth (99) and Minnesota seventh (62).
“We had a strong day of swimming on both sides today,” head coach Brett Hawke said. “This is a quality meet with great teams present and we’re really happy with the way the team stepped up and raced today.”
The Auburn men had five representatives in the 50 free championship final and three in the consolation final. Senior Adam Brown captured first in the event in a NCAA “B” time of 19.56, which is tied for fourth-fastest in the country. Junior Karl Krug took second in a “B” time of 19.90 after he swam a season-best time of 19.62 in the preliminaries.
Junior Drew Modrov finished fifth (20.09), while freshman Chris Manning was sixth (20.20) and senior Jared White took eighth (20.50). Senior Kohlton Norys won the “B” final in a time of 20.03 and freshman Dimitri Higgins and James Disney-May finished 11th (20.28) and 15th (20.64), respectively.
The Tiger women had three in the 50 free championship final as junior Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace won the event in the nation’s fastest time this season and a “B” time of 22.14. Sophomore Hannah Riordan clocked a career-best time and took third in a “B” time of 22.41. Freshmen Olivia Scott finished eighth in 23.23.
Three Tigers swam in the consolation final of the 50 free as freshman Emily Bos led the way with at 10th-place finish in a time of 23.04. Sophomore Lindsey Norberg was 13th (23.29) and junior Jenny Von Jouanne finished 16th (23.56).
Auburn opened the finals with a pair of wins in the 200 free relay. The women’s team of Vanderpool-Wallace, Riordan, Bos and Scott took first in a “B” time of 1:29.04. The Auburn men’s quartet of Brown, Krug, Modrov and Norys finished first in a “B” time of 1:18.49. Auburn’s White, Higgins, Manning and Disney-May took third for the men in 1:19.41.
The Tigers closed the meet just as they started, taking both the women and men’s 400 medley relay titles. Bos, junior Micah Lawrence, Scott and Vanderpool-Wallace finished first in a “B” time of 3:36.27.
The Auburn men took first and second in the event as the quad of White, Adam Klein, Brown and Krug won in a “B” time of 3:10.13. Junior Max Murphy, sophomore Stuart Ferguson, freshman Nimrod Hayet and Norys finished second in 3:11.95.
“The relays were our highlight tonight,” Hawke said. “Our depth is really showing through and looking better and better for us.”
A trio of Tigers scored points for the team in the women’s 500 free. Senior Micah Martindale took sixth in 4:46.35, while her preliminary time of 4:46.18 was a season best and a “B” cut time. Sophomore Katie Gardocki took 11th in a “B” time of 4:46.10, while freshman Siena DeVenuto was 13th a “B” time of 4:46.61.
The Auburn men had three Tigers in the 500 free consolation final with freshman Zane Grothe finishing 10th in 4:28.03. Senior Robert Looney and freshman Dakota Hodgson finished 15th and 16th, respectively.
Auburn senior Caitlin Geary represented the women in the 200 IM championship final, taking seventh in 2:01.89. On the men’s side, six Tigers scored points for Auburn with three coming in the championship final. Hayet took sixth in a “B” time of 1:48.72, while freshman Evan Noble was seventh and Murphy was eighth. In the consolation final, Ferguson was ninth, senior Andrew Mitchell finished 10th and freshman Spencer Kerns took 14th.
Competition continues Saturday with preliminaries in the 400 IM, 100 fly, 200 free, 100 breast, 100 back, women’s one-meter diving and men’s three-meter diving. Finals are set to begin at 4 p.m. CT from the Gabrielson Natatorium on the campus of the University of Georgia.
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