Three-Peat For NCAA Swim Champs

Clutch diving performances helped push Auburn to a third consecutive NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving championship. Coach David Marsh talks about his eighth NCAA title.

Minneapolis, Minn.--Auburn held off three challengers from the Pac 10 on the way to a third straight men's NCAA Swimming and Diving Championship.

The Tigers wrapped up the title on Saturday night when divers Matt Bricker and Steve Sergerlin finished one-two on the 10-meter platform. Together the pair of divers scored 86 critical points for the Tigers in their three diving events.

Auburn, which led Arizona by 42 points after day one, and Stanford by 28 points after day two, finished 77 points ahead of Stanford on the final scoreboard. Two other Pac 10 teams followed the Cardinal with Arizona finishing 103 points behind Auburn and Cal, the pre-meet co-favorite with Auburn, 110 points behind the champions.

With his fifth men's NCAA title to go with three for the AU women, Coach David Marsh has now won a total of eight national team titles with the Auburn program. "What a fun weekend," said Marsh, who notes that his senior class, with its three NCAA titles and four SEC Championships, is one of the most successful group of athletes in SEC and NCAA history.

"I will leave it to others to decide where they rank, but it is hard to argue the success of this group," Marsh told Inside the Auburn Tigers. "I think they did it was class and intensity in the right proportions."

Auburn finished the competition with 491 points and was followed by Stanford (414), Arizona (388), California (381), Florida (284), Michigan (240), Texas (236), Northwestern (191), Southern Cal (189) and Georgia was 10th with 177.

"We hoped we would (win for the third time in row)," Marsh said. "We knew we had a strong team coming back but we also knew that we would have to perform well at the event. As the year played out, California came on. Stanford had an amazing meet. Minnesota had a tremendous Big Ten's, so the competition really raised up during the year. We had to absolutely be at our best here and that's what we were. Our goal was to improve times and we improved times at about a 70 percent rate, and most times that will get you a championship."

Matt Bricker won the NCAA championship in platform diving while teammate Steve Segerlin was the runnerup.

The Tigers take the victory platform on Saturday night in Minneapolis. It is their second national championship won in that city.
Bricker followed in the footsteps of former Tiger All-American Caesar Garcia to win the platform title for AU for a third consecutive season. He scored a career-high 604.35 to win by a comfortable margin over teammate Steven Segerlin, who scored 555.65 to repeat his 2004 runnerup finish.

Counting the two springboard events, the two Tiger divers outscored runnerup Stanford 86-0 in the diving events.

"I couldn't have dreamed of a better way to end my college career," said Bricker, who bounced back from a ruptured spleen suffered earlier this season that kept him out of the SEC Championships. "It is amazing. I have been blessed so much, I cannot even explain it. Coming back from injury and putting my life back in order, the Lord truly blessed me all year."

Diving coach Jeff Shaffer was thrilled, too. "What a great performance from Matt and Steve. I couldn't be more proud of Matt stepping up tonight. He has gone through a lot during his four years at Auburn and he has grown a lot, matured a lot. It was just a fitting end for him to come out victorious tonight."

Marsh said, "I think as a team we committed to a goal and it is a new goal every year. This senior class will never be with us again and it was a special senior class, as was each of the last three.

"Matt Bricker winning the 10-meter brought tears to my eyes. He has been a special young man, and I don't even coach him every day. That was the kind of year we had as a program."

The Tigers added icing to their cake by finishing second to Cal in the final event of the meet, the 400 freestyle relay. Senior Fred Bousquet led off the relay with a 41.87, lowering his school record 100-yard freestyle he established earlier on Saturday. Junior George Bovell swam a 42.66 in leg two, senior Ryan Wochomurka then swam a 42.65 and senior B.J. Jones finished in 43.20 for a time of 2:50.38.

"I am very happy because usually I have one great swim and the rest are just average," Bousquet said of his record-setting meet. "I had a great race every day and the team did their job and pushed me further and further. I am so proud of this team."

Auburn picked up valuable points on Saturday night as junior Doug Van Wie swam a personal-record time of 1:41.24 in the 200 backstroke to finish second to Florida star Ryan Lochte's sizzling 1:38.27, the second fastest time ever in the event. Chad Barlow finished fifth for the Tigers with a time of 1:41.80.

Auburn's swimmers and coaches take their traditional plunge into the pool after winning a fifth men's national championship.

In the 100 freestyle, Bousquet set a school record he would break later in the evening in the final relay. He posted a 42.19 to finish second to Cal's Duje Draganja's NCAA record 41.49. Olympic gold medalist Rowdy Gaines had held the Auburn record at 42.38 since March 6, 1981.

Also scoring in the 100 for the Tigers was Bovell, who was eighth in 42.84. Swimming in the consolation finals was senior Wochomurka (43.06) and sophomore Bryan Lundquist (44.20), who finished 10th and 16th.

Eric Shanteau swims on Saturday night for the Tigers.

Other scorers for the Tigers included junior Eric Shanteau, who was eighth in the 200 breaststroke. Freshman Rory Connell scored Auburn's only points in the 200 butterfly as he went 1:46.05 in placing 13th.

The Auburn senior class (Barlow, Bousquet, Bricker, Jones, Nate Knopf, Andrew Sivulka and Wochomurka) finished their collective careers with nine individual NCAA titles, three NCAA team titles, 25 individual SEC titles, four SEC team titles and 74 All-American honors as well as a perfect 30-0 dual meet record.


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