Tigers Take 5th Straight NCAA Swim Title

Auburn's Men's Swimming and Diving team won its fifth straight NCAA Championship Saturday night in Minnesota.

Minneapolis, Minn.--The Auburn men's swimming and diving team sent Coach David Marsh out on an incredible high on Saturday night as the Tigers cruised to a fifth consecutive NCAA championship and seventh overall title with a dominating performance from beginning to end.

Titles in the 100-yard freestyle, platform diving and 400 freestyle relay propelled the Tigers to 566 points, easily outdistancing Stanford (397) for second place.

"This is probably my third, fourth or fifth most talented team, but we've never had a better meet top to bottom," said Marsh, who is leaving for a new post with USA Swimming later this year.

"Our team has made this year very special," Marsh added. "I really just enjoy this team. There are so many great individuals, and I could go down story by story and tell you how they have gone from rags to riches, including all three of our captains. This group has a lot of depth that involves were they have come from and what they have gone through."

The Tigers celebrate with their championship hardware on Saturday night.

On Tuesday at 6 p.m. CST at Toomer's Corner the men's as well as the women's team will be honored for their 2007 national titles.

After setting themselves up with a strong preliminary round in the morning, the Tigers knew that if things held to form in the 100 yard freestyle on Saturday night then the race for the championship was all over but the shouting. Much to the dismay of chasing teams Stanford and Arizona, Auburn super sophomore Cesar Cielo continued his dominance in the meet to push the Tigers over the top and within striking distance of the win.

Breaking the NCAA record in the 100 free with a 41.17 second swim, Cielo led a strong Auburn contingent in the event as the Tigers amassed 48 points in the 100 free as a team to separate themselves from the pack. Going into the event, Auburn's lead on second-place Arizona was down to 89 points. Just that quickly the Tigers were back up by 104 and firmly in control of things on this night.

"I'm really proud of myself," said Cielo. "I'm really happy with my results. I wasn*t really expecting to go that fast. I'm glad I*m still a sophomore and have two years to go, and hopefully I'll go faster next year."

With James Wike picking up 13 big points in the 200 Backstroke with a time of 1:42.92 and Jonathan Roberts (1:57.37) and Sean Osbourne (1:58.62) both adding points in the consolation finals of the 200 Breastroke, the Tigers still held a comfortable 90 point margin over surging Stanford as they got ready for the 200 Fly, one of Auburn's strongest events.

John Scott swims a strong race for the Tigers. (Todd Van Emst Photo)

Earlier in the day, Auburn placed both John Scott and Logan Madson in the finals of the event while challenger Stanford had just one swimmer in the final race. Auburn also had Tyler McGill in the consolation finals to perhaps give a boost to the point totals. He did just that as, out first, he finished 11th with a time of 1:45.04 to score six valuable points for Auburn. The Tigers then put the finishing touches on the championship as Scott's 1:43.47 was good enough for second-place while Madson's swim of 1:43.97 brought him in at fourth. Combined the two added 32 points to Auburn's total and put the championship in the bag with just two events remaining and the Tigers holding a lead of 115 points over Stanford.

As if Auburn had not already put the meet away, Steven Segerlin, Kelly Marx and Daniel Mazzaferro extended the Tigers' point total in the Platform Diving competition. Looking to repeat his championship from a year ago, Segerlin easily defeated the competition to win Auburn's second individual title of the day. Mark finished sixth while Mazzaferro's eighth-place finish gave the Tigers a huge lead over the competition heading into the final race, the 400 Free Relay.

With the championship already in hand, Auburn came out blazing as the team of Andkjaer, Cielo, Targett and Lundquist smashed the NCAA record of 2:47.70 with a swim of 2:46.56 in the finals. The Tigers defeated second-place Arizona in the race by 1.3 seconds to put a fitting end to a dominating performance by the national champions.

"This year was a very challenging year," said Marsh. "There were so many things this year that turned us in another direction. So many obstacles came in our way, but the coaching staff and the team members themselves were brilliant."

Tigers take the plunge to celebrate their seventh men's NCAA swimming and diving team title.

Day Two Results

Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories