Tigers Shooting for 14th Straight SEC Title

Athens, Ga.--Auburn begins competition on Wednesday night at the SEC Swimming and Diving Championships with the men's team looking for a record 14th consecutive conference title.

The Tigers, who are the defending national champions, have been rebuilding this year and are currently ranked fifth nationally. Auburn also lost a dual meet to conference rival Florida so it is not a given that the SEC championship streak will continue.

"I think we are very strong individually across the board, we just need to come together as a team, work as a unit and really fight for each other," Auburn coach Brett Hawke tells Inside the Auburn Tigers in discussing the men's team's keys to victory.

"I think we will do well," he adds. "The backstroke events are big for us. Florida is pretty deep in that area and we are pretty good, too, so I think if we can match up well there we will do well as a team.

"The relays are also very important for us," Hawke notes.

Auburn's team's normally swim its bes times in the big meets and the Tigers are trained to peak for the conference and NCAA championship events.

"I have seen some good signs," Hawke says of his team's workouts. "There are definitely some signs of a championship team. We just need to put the final puzzles pieces together.

"It is always a challenge to clear that final hurdle," he adds. "We are pretty close. It is going to be a tight race. I?think Florida is in a good position on the men's side. It is going to come down to the wire. We need to fight tough during the four days of competition."

Host Georgia is the favorite to win the women's competition. Seventh-ranked Auburn was the SEC runnerup last season.

"The 200 events are a key for us in the women's competition,"?Hawke says. "We are pretty strong there and we need to exploit our strengths--the butterfly, backstroke and freestyle events. The mid-distance range is important for us. Also, growing confidence throughout the meet will be important."

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