Tigers Speed Into the Lead

Knoxville, Tenn.--The Auburn men's swimming team charged into the lead on Thursday night at day two of four days of competition at the SEC Swimming and Diving Championships.

The top-ranked Tigers have 421 points as they moved from fifth place into first place. Florida is second with 351 points. Georgia, the day one leader, dropped to third with 316 points and is followed by host Tennessee with 248 and LSU is fifth with 191.

The No. 2 ranked Auburn women's team moved up from fifth place to second. The Tigers have 338 points while Georgia, the defending nationally champions, are in first with 376 points. Kentucky is third with 330 and is followed by Florida with 239 and Tennessee with 230.

Auburn's speed was on display on Thursday night as the men's team took first, second and third place in the 50-yard freestyle sprint to pile up the points.

Freshman Cesar Cielo won the event with a time of 19.49, the sixth fastest in school history. He was followed by Scott Goodrich in 19.70 and George Bovell in 19.82. Auburn sprinters also had a 1-2-3 finish last year as they won the SEC title for the ninth straight year.

Alexei Puniski joined Cielo, Goodrich and Bovell to win the 200-yard freestyle relay as the quartet posted a time of 1:18.l7, the fastest in the country this year to take that race for the fourth straight year at the SEC Championships.

"We thought it would be a real close meet and it is a real close meet," Auburn coach David Marsh said Thursday night. "I was very pleased to make a move after this morning. The individual medley kind of help create that and the momentum from the sprints helped us as well.

"(Thursday) morning is always the key day for us. If we want to make a move on Georgia on the women's side then it will happen (Thursday) morning. If we want to pull away on the men's side, it will also happen (Thursday). Otherwise, I am expecting this meet to come down to the last day, last session.

"This was a strong day for us so we should have scored a lot of points and we did and I am very pleased with that," Marsh added. "We will have to keep improving from here."

Cesar Cielo, Scott Goodrich and George Bovell are the three fastest swimmers in the SEC.

Bovell, a bronze medalist in the 2004 Olympics, said the impressive win in the 200 freestyle relay was important to the team. "In that relay in particular we wanted to send a message to all the other teams in the country to let them know that we are ready and are coming for them," he said. "It is always great to swim in a final with my Auburn teammates and to push each other for the benefit of the team."

Senior Eric Shanteau took second place in the 200 individual medley behind Florida star Ryan Lochte, the defending NCAA champion, who swam a 1:43.31. Shanteau's time was 1:44.67.

"This was a personal best swim for me at SECs so I am happy about that," Shanteau said. "I am happy to improve from last season's time at SECs. I felt real good out there and am happy with my place. I am happy about how my teammates swam today and I can't argue about how it went for us as a whole today."

Auburn, which hasn't lost a meet in the past four seasons, has been ranked No. 1 all season.

"We always want to consider the 200 IM the cornerstone of our program," Marsh said. "It is the event that represents the most versatility and tonight was a good example of that. I was very proud of how they swam and they raced tough which was probably the most satisfying thing."

James Wike took fourth for the Tigers in a time of 1:45.64 and Joey Schneider was sixth in 1:48.54.

Diver Steve Segerlin took second place in the one-meter springboard on Thursday after finishing second in the three-meter event on Wednesday. He scored 357.90. Georgia's Chris Colwill won with a 441.05 total.

The best event for the Auburn women's team on Thursday was the 500 freestyle. Adrienne Bender took second in 4:43.38 behind Georgia's Laura Colnaway (4:41.46). Hayley Piersol was third for Auburn in 4:43.80 while teammates Chelsea Haser (4:45.38) and Kirsten Hastrup (4:45.81) added points.

In the women's 200 IM, Emily Kukors was second in 1:58.95 behind Mary DeScenza of UGA (1:57.96). Auburn's Anne Amardeilh was fifth in 2:00.80 and Alicia Jenson was eighth in 2:01.16.

In the women's 200 freestyle relay, Georgia won with a time of 1:30.18 to Auburn's 1:30.63. Margo McCawley, Jana Kolukanova, Emile Ewing and Kukors swam for Auburn.

Meet Results

Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories