Tigers Second After Day One at NCAA Meet

The Auburn swimmers opened the 2008 NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships with a strong performance.

Columbus, Ohio--Although Auburn doesn't have the lead after the first day of competition at the 2008 NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships, Dorsey Tierney-Walker is excited about her team's performance on Thursday.

"I thought we did a great job tonight, getting out there and scoring some points," said Tierney-Walker, co-head coach of the Tigers, who watched Ava Ohlgren win an individual championship Thursday night.

"It was a good session, but this is a meet made up of sessions and you basically start over every day so we have to come back ready tomorrow," she added.

After Thursday night's competition ending the first of three days of competition, the Tigers are in second place with 132 points, 19 behind Arizona, which was expected to do well in day one's events.

The Tigers, who are hoping to win a third consecutive NCAA title, were in second place behind Arizona the past two seasons and overcame day one deficits of three points and 10 points in those meets.

Ohlgren just missed an NCAA record in winning the 200 individual medley in a time of 1:53.94, just off the mark set by former Auburn star Maggie Bowen.

"It felt great, really smooth and it was just awesome," said Ohlgren. "I'm so excited. I missed the record by .03, but, oh well, I'll get it next year."

Auburn senior Emily Kukors finished third in the 200 IM in 1:55.28. She was edged out of second place by .02 by her sister, Ariana, a freshman for the University of Washington.

Ohlgren and Kukors helped the 200 freestyle relay set an Auburn record with a time of 1:28.79 to take third place in the event won by Arizona in an NCAA record time of 1:26.90. Kara Denby and Emile Ewing helped break the AU record that was set in 2002 by Becky Short, Maggie Bowen, Cassidy Maxwell and Eileen Coparropa

Maggie Bird, who almost missed qualifying for the finals in the 500 freestyle, set a personal record with a time of 4:39.51 to finish second behind the American record time of 4:33.60 posted by Carolina Burckle of Florida. "I've wanted to break 4:40 for a long time and it felt great to go out and do it," Bird said.

Maggie Bird swims for the Tigers on Thursday night.

In the final event of day one, Auburn finished second in the 400 medley relay with Margo McCawley, Denby, Ohlgren and Kukors swimming a time of 3:32.84. Arizona set an NCAA record time of 3:29.06.

"I thought we swam real tough," said Auburn coach Richard Quick. "We probably maxed out what we could do in the relays and we swam faster than we are seeded, but this meet is going to be a battle and we have to wake up ready to swim tomorrow."

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