AU Swim Teams Leading at SEC Championships

Tuscaloosa, Ala.--The defending SEC and national champion Auburn women's team charged into the lead on Friday while the defending SEC and national champion Auburn men's team extended its lead on Friday night at the SEC Swimming and Diving Championships.

With one more day of competition left in the four-day event, the Auburn women have 492 points to 476 for Florida, which led Auburn by 42 points after day two. Georgia, which is ranked No. 1 nationally, is third with 387. Tennessee is fourth with 332.5 and Kentucky is next with 238. Auburn came into the meet ranked No. 5 nationally while Florida was ranked No. 3 and Tennessee seventh.

The Auburn men hold a commanding lead with 597 points. Florida is second with 477 and Tennessee is third with 399. Georgia is next with 294 and LSU is fifth with 277.5.

"I'm thrilled at how we brought our ‘A Game' today, but we still have one more day," said Auburn co-head women's coach Dorsey Tierney-Walker. "Tomorrow is a really important session for us."

Highlights for the women's team on Friday included the first SEC individual titles for seniors Emily Kukors and Kara Denby. Kukors broke her on AU record in the 200-meter freestyle with a time of 1:43.47. Denby won the 100-meter breaststroke with a pool record time of 1:00.37, the third fastest swim in that event in AU history.

Denby and Kukors closed the night in style with teammates Margo McCawley and Ava Ohlgren to win the 400 medley relay.

"I'm just thrilled about two of our seniors tonight winning their first individual SEC titles in Kara Denby in the 100 breast and Emily Kukors in the 200 free, just absolutely thrilled for them," Tierney-Walker said.

Ohlgren added to the Auburn charge on Friday by setting an SEC record in winning the 400 individual medley in a time of 4:05.78 to with her title in the 200 IM.

"I'm excited for Ava Ohlgren winning her first SEC title in the 400 IM mainly because she didn't do it last year," said Tierney-Walker. "But, that is mainly a reflection on the kind of people we have that they are willing to do whichever event they need to do to help the team. All-around, we had a great day today and looking forward to another tomorrow."

The men's team won four events, too, on Friday.

Coach Richard Quick

"We really had a good day, our guys really stepped up today and I'm proud of them," said head coach Richard Quick. "We had to withstand Florida's 400 individual medley, but we really fought back with Alexei Puninski winning the 100 butterfly, Mike Silva taking the 100 breaststroke, Dan Mazzaferro on the diving and everybody else."

Puninski set an SEC record in winning the 100 butterfly in 46.50 and the senior was followed by teammates Jordan Anderson and Tyler McGill to take the top three spots.

Sophomore Michael Silva won the 100 breaststroke in 53.60 and joined Puninski, Kohlton Norys and Cesar Cielo to win the 400 medley relay with a pool record time of 3:08.57.

The records kept falling as sophomore Dan Mazzaferro set an SEC record with his score of 444.65 to win the platform diving competition. Kelly Marx was third at 414.90.

"What an awesome job by Dan and Kelly today," said head diving coach Jeff Shaffer. "What a great contest, that is one of the best men's platform contests that the SEC has witnessed over the past several years and that is exciting for them to be a part of it."

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