Two Tiders Win Diving At Auburn

Alabama made a clean sweep of the diving events on day one of the 2009 Southeastern Conference Championships being held in the Martin Aquatic Center when junior Aaron Fleshner won the first title of the meet, the men's one-meter springboard, and freshman Carrie Dragland took top honors off the women's three-meter board later in the night.

"This was a great, great start for us," Alabama head coach Eric McIlquham said. "Aaron and Carrie looked great. They both had their best night. Aaron missed the NCAA record off the one-meter by less than seven points."

In sixth place after the preliminary round, Fleshner amassed 414.15 points in the finals, outscoring the rest of the field by more than 40 points. His total was nearly 100 points better than his 314.25 during the preliminary round. Fleshner will attempt to defend his SEC three-meter title on Thursday. Sophomore Adam Booher also scored for the Tide off the one-meter board, taking 13th place with 286.35 points.

Dragland, in third place after the three-meter prelims, scored 366.50 points in finals, six points ahead of the second-place finisher. Sophomore Lauren Dunn also scored off the three-meter board, taking ninth place with 288.35 point.

Fleshner's win is the 23rd individual SEC diving title by a member of the Tide men's team. It was the first SEC one-meter title for the Tide men since Rafael Alvarez in 1995. Dragland's title was the 10th by a member of the Alabama women's team and the first since Lane Bassham won both the one and three-meter boards in 2004.

Alabama also set a pair of school records, with the men shattering the 800 freestyle mark while the women lowered the Tide mark in the 200 medley relay.

"We got off to a fast start," McIlquham said. "Two SEC titles and two school records is something we can build on throughout this championship. This is what we've been training all season for and this was a great way to get things started."

The Crimson Tide men knocked off the second oldest school record on the books when sophomores Denes Zubcsek and Cosma Catalin, freshman Joe Ziegler and senior Alin Mihalca combined to post a 6:24.98 in the 800 freestyle, bettering the previous mark, set in 1983, by more than three seconds.

Sophomore Cassie Craddock, junior Agustina de Giovanni, junior Hannah Brinks and sophomore Ida Persson earned an NCAA provisional standard in the 200 medley relay with a school-record 1:39.38, bettering the previous mark, set in 2002, by half a second.

The 200 medley relay of senior Chris Perry, junior Luke Boutwell, sophomore Denes Zubcsek and junior Riley Boulden touched the wall with a season-best 1:27.47, taking seventh place and earning an NCAA provisional standard.

The Tide women finished eighth and earned an NCAA provisional qualifying time in the 800 freestyle when junior Shannon Van Hoy, sophomore Kate Shannon Gray, junior Agustina de Giovanni and junior Maggie Zblewski combined for a 7:18.28.

The championships continue Thursday with preliminaries starting at 10 a.m.

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