Terrific Finish Leads Swimmers to NCAA Title

Auburn's women's team won its fifth NCAA Swimming and Diving title in the past six years.

Minneapolis, Minn.--Auburn charged to the lead on the opening event of the final night and won its fifth NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships title with plenty of room to spare.

The Tigers wrapped up the three-day event with 535 points, outdistancing runnerup Arizona's total of 477 while Cal was third with 372.5 points. Coming into the final day of competition on Saturday, the Tigers trailed Arizona 375-343.

Stanford finished fourth with 333 and Auburn's SEC rival, Georgia, was fifth with 290 points.

Hayley Peirsol (right) congratulates Adrienne Binder on their one-two finish in the 1650 freestyle to move Auburn into first place on Saturday night. Peirsol defended her NCAA title in the event with a school record time of 15:45.92.

It didn't take the Tigers long to move in front Saturday night as Hayley Piersol finished first in the 1650 freestyle with teammate Adrienne Binder taking second place in a personal-best time of 15:53.44.

Auburn, which qualified five swimmers for the championship finals on Saturday night compared to four for Arizona, never was seriously challenged after the one-two finish in the 1650.

Auburn's depth also paid dividends with the Tigers placing seven swimmers in the consolation finals to just three for Arizona.

The team plunge into the pool to celebrate an NCAA swimming and diving title is an Auburn Tradition.

The Tigers won their first NCAA team title in 2002 and followed that up with victories in 2003 and 2004. Auburn finished second in 2005 before recapturing the title in dramatic come-from-behind fashion at year ago.

"We were utterly amazing this morning," said David Marsh, who with co-women's head coach Dorsey Tierney-Walker was named Division I Women's Coach of the Year at the meet.

"Every one of our girls moved on to a second swim, except one who was disqualified. We make a goal of that, but to actually accomplish that is phenomenal. What that was was a reflection of the year and the way Dorsey prepared their training program. They knew that they would be toughest the last day, and I had no doubt that we would have our best day today. That allowed us in the last two days to be poised and be a little behind but to stick with it."

Tierney-Walker said, "The girls surprised even me, and I don't get surprised very often. What a total team effort each session. The way we came out and just got better and better every session says something. This team has been through some challenges this year, and I think it has made them stronger as individuals and stronger as a unit. It certainly showed this weekend, and it is by far the best this team has every swum. I couldn't be more proud."

Hayley Piersol swims to victory in the 1650 freestyle on Saturday night.

The Tigers added to their lead as Kara Denby finished fourth in the 100 freestyle in 48.07 while Emily Kukors took fifth.

Auburn then clinched the victory in the 200 breaststroke as Kristen Hastrup took fifth, Ava Ohlgren finished seventh while Tawnie Bethune finished 10th. Ohlgren earned All-American honors in six events, which is the second most in school history for a freshman.

Lynnsey Seagraves won the consolation finals in platform diving and the AU coasted home to victory with a fourth place finish in the 400 freestyle relay.

"It os unbelievable,* said senior co-captain Binder. "I never knew that I could be this emotional about it. I am so proud of this team and I couldn't be happier right now. It's been the most amazing experience and we've been through so much this year. It couldn't have gone any better. It's perfect."

Coach David Marsh talks to the Tigers after defending their NCAA title and says goodbye following his final women's competition as AU head coach. He will be leaving for Charlotte, N.C., where he will coach world class competitors for USA Swimming. Next week his AU men's team will be competing for another NCAA title.

AU School Records Set At NCAA Meet

100 freestyle--Kara Denby, 48.04 (Old record: 48.05 by Kara Denby, 2007)

200 freestyle--Emily Kukors, 1:43.72 (Old record: 1:44.48 by Kirsty Coventry, 2005)

1650 freestyle--Hayley Perisol, 15:45.92 (Old record: 15:49.48 by Hayley Peirsol, 2006)

100 backstroke--Rachel Goh, 51.97 (Old record: 52.32 by Kirsty Coventry, 2005)

100 butterfly--Kristen Hastrup, 1:55.32 (Old record: 1:55.53 by Demerae Christianson, 2004)

400 individual medley--Ava Ohlgren, 4:04.08 (Old record: 4:04.48 by Kirsty Coventry, 2005)

800 freestyle relay--Ohlgren, Ewing, Kukors, Binder, 7:01.05 (Old record: Hoelzer, Kemp, Coventry, Bowen, 7:01.11 in 2003)

Platform diving--Lynnsey Segraves, 300.05 points.

Auburn All-Americans

Anne Amardeilh--400 IM (Honorable mention)

Tawnie Bethune--400 MR, 200 fly (Honorable Mention)

Adrienne Binder--500 free, 400 IM, 800 FR, 1650 free

Maggie Bird--500 free, 1650 free (Honorable Mention)

Kara Denby--200 FR, 50 free, 200 MR, 100 free, 400 FR

Emile Ewing--200 FR, 800 FR, 200 back (Honorable Mention)

Corey Gerlach--1-meter (Honorable Mention), 3-meter (Honorable Mention)

Rachel Goh--400 MR, 200 MR, 100 back, 200 back (Honorable Mention)

Chelsea Haser--500 free (Honorable Mention), 1650 free (Honorable Mention)

Kristen Hastrup--200 fly

Alicia Jensen--200 breast (Honorable Mention)

Emily Kukors--200 FR, 200 IM, 200 MR, 200 free, 800 FR, 100 free, 400 FR

Melissa Marik--200 FR, 100 back, 200 back, 400 FR

Margo McCawley--200 MR, 100 back (Honorable Mention), 200 back (Honorable Mention)

Julianne McLane--200 back (Honorable Mention)

Ava Ohlgren--200 IM, 400 MR, 400 IM, 800 FR, 200 fly, 400 FR

Hayley Peirsol--500 free, 1650 free

Swimming Results, Diving Results

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