Tigers Pushing Longhorns for NCAA Title

With one day of competition remaining, Auburn is making a strong run at its eighth men's NCAA Swimming and Diving national title.

College Station, Tex.--Auburn trimmed 34 points off the lead and is just six points behind Texas going into the final day of competition on Saturday at the NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships.

The Tigers picked up a victory from the 200 medley relay team while backstroker Kohlton Norys won an individual title for Auburn.

Texas went into the second night of competition leading Auburn 171-141 as the Tigers look to win their eight NCAA men's national championship. After two days of competition, Texas is in first with 348 points followed by Auburn at 342. Stanford is third with 298.5 while Cal is fourth at 239 and defending champ Arizona is fifth with 229.

The Tigers opened the night with their third NCAA record relay performance of the meet as the 200-yard medley relay team of Jared White, Michael Silva, Matt Targett and Gideon Louw swam a time of 1:22.36. Cal was second at 1:22.50 and Texas took at 1:23.97.

Former president George H. Bush congratulates the 200 medley relay Auburn team.

Auburn then pulled to within six points of the Longhorns with a two-three finish in the 100 butterfly by Tyler McGill and Logan Madson. McGill's time was an Auburn record of 44.63. Madson's 44.99 was a personal best time.

However, Texas stretched its lead to 281-219 with four scorers in the 200 freestyle. Auburn didn't score in the event.

The Tigers got 17 points from Adam Klein with his second place in the 100 breaststroke. Michael Silva finished sixth for the Tigers with a time of 52.09 to help reduce the Texas lead.

Adam Klein swims the 100-yard breaststroke for the Tigers.

The Tigers then got a strong performance in the 100-yard backstroke won by Kohlton Norys, who became the first Tiger to win a men's national title in the event. He swam a 45.26 to edge David Russel of Cal by .04 seconds.

Norys scored 20 points for his first place finish and teammate Pascal Wollach finished fourth to score 15 points with his time of 45.43. Another Tiger, Jared White, scored 13 points with his sixth place time of 45.95. Texas scored just three points in the event and saw its lead narrowed to 305-297.

"I knew it was a close race and when I turned at the 50," said Norys. "I saw someone ahead of me. I just tried to get my hand there first. It was great having two other teammates with me in the race, because we practice and train together. It was nice to win my first individual gold medal. It was a proud moment to be up on the awards stand in the top spot."

Auburn took its first lead since early on day one of the three-day competition when Kelly Marx finished second in the three-meter springboard diving to put the Tigers up 320-308. Marx set a school record in the event with his score of 454.85.

Daniel Mazzaferro was AU's second scorer in the diving event picking up six points for 11th place while Texas scored three points in the event.

"Kelly played the game extremely well," said Auburn diving coach Jeff Shaffer. "What I mean by that is that through SECs and Zones, he has stayed focused and under control. He has taken it one dive at a time and no one has been better. I believe this is the most competitive diving event in NCAA history and he finished second to an Olympian."

As expected, the Longhorns won the closing event, the 800 freestyle relay, while Auburn finished eighth allowing the Longhorns to regain the lead with 40 points from the relay while Auburn added 22 points for eighth place. That made the score 348 for Texas, 342 for the Tigers as the competition ended on Friday night setting up what could be an exciting finish on Saturday.

Our guys stood up everywhere we needed them today," co-head men's coach Brett Hawke. "Texas won the first day and we won today. It will come down to who wants it the most in the final day.

"We had some huge swims tonight," Hawke added. "It was great to see Kohlton Norys win our first individual title. Our medley relay did a great job. Tomorrow will be a tough day, but we are looking forward to it."

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