"Tonight really starts with the morning session," Marsh said. "For us we had nothing short of a fabulous session. I had hoped to come in and swim well at the beginning of the meet and thought we were tight to start out, but then the guys really got going in the individual medley."
Bovell brought the crowd to its feet as the freshman set an NCAA and US Open record in the 200-yard IM with a time of 1:42.66, breaking Nate Dusing's record of 1:42.85 from 2001. The NCAA individual title was Auburn's first in the event since Lionel Moreau won the 200 IM at the 1999 championships. Also swimming in the 200 IM championship finals and gaining points for the Tigers was Mark Gangloff, who finished seventh with a time of 1:46.26. Competing in the consolation finals for the Tigers and placing one-two-three were Eric Shanteau (1:46.35), James Galloway (1:46.45) and Jeremy Knowles (1:46.57). The five Auburn swimmers amassed 54 points for the Tigers to take over first-place at that point of the meet with 99 total points, 23 points ahead of second-place Stanford.
Fred Bousquet claimed his first NCAA title as the Perpignan, France, native out-touched second-place finisher and Olympic Gold Medalist Anthony Ervin with a time of 19.31 in the 50-yard freestyle. The title was AU's first 50-free title since Aaron Ciarla won the event at the 1999 championships.
"I swam slower this evening than I did this morning when I went 19.24, so I am a little disappointed" Bousquet said. "But to beat a guy like Anthony Ervin is something I never thought I would be able to do, so I feel lucky."
France native Fred Bousquet won his first NCAA Title Thursday night with a time of 19.31 in the 50-yard freestyle.
Three other Tigers swam in the championship finals of the 50-free as junior Derek Gibb moved up from his 2002 sixth-place finish to finish fourth (19.51). Sophomore Ryan Wochomurka also improved upon his 10th-place finish from 2002, finishing fifth (19.62) while senior Andy Haidinyak rounded out the AU quartet in the event, placing seventh with a time of 19.81.
"Andy Haidinyak's swim really set this team on fire," Marsh said. "There is always a hero and I couldn't script it any better than to have Andy as the igniter of our team."
The multitude of swimmers in the 50-free helped increase Auburn's lead to 73 points at that time. The Tiger machine was not done there as the AU relay squad of Bryce Hunt, Pat Calhoun, Haidinyak and Bousquet closed out the first session with a third-place finish in the 400-yard medley relay in a time of 3:07.28. Hunt's leadoff leg of 46.48 established the 100-yard backstroke record for Auburn, breaking Mike Bartz' time of 47.00 set at the 1998 national championships. Auburn's night started out with a second-place finish in the 200-yard free relay as Wochomurka, Gibb, Matt Kidd and Bousquet clocked a 1:17.28. Wochomurka led off the relay with a 19.71 split. BJ Jones was AU's first individual swimmer of the night, placing eighth in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:22.32 to place eighth, which moved Auburn into a second-place tie in the overall points standings after just two events.
Though the Tigers did not have any divers in the final eight, the AU duo of Caesar Garcia and Matt Bricker did pickup valuable points for the Tigers as they placed ninth and 12th, respectively.
The competition continues on Friday with the prelims session starting at 11 a.m. CT. All the results will be posted live on the internet at www.TexasSports.com.