The Tigers, who came into the meet ranked third, have 110 1/2 points. Texas, which is ranked first, leads the competition at the University of Minnesota with 139 points. Stanford is second with 136 and Cal is third with 134 points.
"We put ourselves in a great position for tomorrow," Auburn coach Brett Hawke said. "We had some great performances tonight from some guys. Not everything went our way, but it never does when you are in a battle."
Hawke singled out the performances of senior Adam Brown and freshman Zane Grothe. "Adam Brown was big for us today to go out there and give four sub-19 performances like he did, I am really proud of him," Hawke said.
"Zane really gave us a boost in the 500 free, an event we have not done well in the past," the coach said. "It really shows that he has a bright future and we are making moves in the mid-distance events."
Grothe's seventh place finish was the best ever for an Auburn swimmer in the event in the NCAA Meet. His time of 4:16.82 is the second-fastest by a Tiger.
The competition started with the 200-yard freestyle relay. The team of Brown, Kohlton Norys, Karl Krug and Marcelo Chierighini were third with a time of 1:15.58.
After swimming an 18.86 leadoff 50 free split in the 200 free relay, Brown came right back with his fourth sub-19 second swim of the day with an 18.72 in the 50 free, taking runner-up honors to Cal's Nathan Adrian (18.66). His time is the third fastest ever at Auburn, moving him ahead of Fred Bousquet and Jakob Andkjaer, but still behind Cesar Cielo and Matt Targett.
"Being in the company of guys like Cesar Cielo, Matt Targett and Fred Bousquet is a great accomplishment," Brown said. "Coming into this race, I knew I was going to have to swim as fast as I could, against one of the fastest swimmers in the world in Nathan Adrian. I would have loved to have beaten him, but it was a great sprint and I am looking forward to the 100 free."
The Tigers scored 48.5 points in the event with six Auburn swimmers scoring. Krug took seventh (19.50) while Drew Modrov swam a personal-best 19.41 to take second in the consolation final, finishing 10th overall. Senior Kohlton Norys was right behind him, taking 11th in 19.46. Marcelo Chierighini placed 13th in 19.65 while Chris Manning tied for 14th with a time of 19.67.
In the final event of the night, the Auburn 400 medley relay team of Kyle Owens, Stuart Ferguson, Brown and Norys won the consolation final to take ninth in the event with a time of 3:06.76. They had a disappointing qualifying reace earlier in the day.
"Brett told us we needed to go out there and make a statement that we belonged in that championship final," Norys said. "We put the four fastest guys together and went out there and gave us a lot of momentum heading into tomorrow."