National Champs Let The Good Times Roll

Auburn, Ala.--Although they were short on sleep after just getting back in town from their national championship run in Texas, the Auburn women's swimming had plenty of energy to celebrate another title at Toomer's Corner.

After a dominating performance to win the 2004 NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championship in College Station, Tex., the Tigers have now won three consecutive national titles.

"In many ways, this one was more satisfying because there was an element of closure with so many seniors on our team this year," says Coach David Marsh.

Auburn led from start to finish and ended the three-day event on Saturday night with a 138-point margin over conference rival Georgia. Auburn scored a school-record 569 total points, the most in school history. The total is the most points scored at the nationals since a dominant Stanford team finished with 649.5 in 1993.

David Marsh addresses the crowd at Toomer's Corner on Sunday.

"We knew after day two it looked real good," Marsh said. "When we got four in the finals of the 100 free in the preliminaries (on day three) we started celebrating."

Marsh is celebrating the victory this weekend and it is back to business on Monday as he flies out to Long Island, N.Y., to coach the No. 1 ranked men's team as the Tigers look to defend their national championship. The 2003-2004 Tigers are undefeated in the dual meet season and come into the meet off a dominating victory at the SEC Swimming and Diving Championships.

"The men's team looks good," Marsh says. "The men's team is not as hyped as the women's team as far as dominant talent is concerned, but we have a full squad going. We have excellent diving. We have attack points in every event. The women did that, too. All 18 scored. If we can accomplish that with the men we will have a pretty good chance of winning that one, too. Then it will be a matter of getting people qualified for the finals.

"On the men's side, the senior leadership is very good," Marsh adds. "This senior group of men have improved every year and are at a real high level right now. That whole group is really at their best right now. We should see some pretty special swims up there."

At the women's nationals, Auburn scored 569 points, Georgia scored 431, Arizona scored 369, Florida 253 and Stanford was fifth with 237. Juniors Margaret Hoelzer and Kirsty Coventry led the Auburn charge with each swimmer scoring 54 points. All 18 Auburn swimmers who qualified for the nationals and each earned All-American honors. "It was awesome to have everybody truly be a part of it," Hoelzer says.

AU's swimmers had plenty to smile about after bringing home another national championship trophy.

Kim Brackin, the women's team co-head coach, agreed with Hoelzer. "It was truly a team victory. They didn't exceed my expectations in terms of swims, but they exceed my expectations in terms of how they performed together as a team."

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