GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Auburn’s sprinters shined on the second day of the 2011 SEC Swimming Championships as the Tigers captured the men’s 50 freestyle and 200 freestyle relay titles Thursday at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center on the campus of the University of Florida.
The Auburn men stand in first place after Thursday’s finals with 378 points. Florida is second with 308 points and Tennessee is third with 263.5 points.
“The day overall was strong and we kept ourselves in the meet,” head coach Brett Hawke said. “This meet is all about good, old-fashioned racing and we saw that tonight. Winning the 50 free and the 200 free relay on both sides gives the team great momentum going into tomorrow.”
The Tigers opened the sprint events with a 1-2 finish in the men’s 50 free. Senior Adam Brown won the event with a NCAA “A” cut time of 19.05, which is tied for the fastest time in the country this year. The win marks the ninth year in a row that an Auburn sprinter has won the event.
Junior Karl Krug touched in second for Auburn with a time of 19.37. Auburn has finished 1-2 in the 50 free for six-straight years.
Freshman Chris Manning finished fifth in the 50 free with a career-best time of 19.78, while Drew Modrov was sixth (19.79) and Marcelo Chierighini was eighth (19.97). Senior Kohlton Norys and sophomore Tony Cox swam in the consolation final with Norys taking 11th (19.78) and Cox finishing 13th (19.95).
The Tigers closed out the evening with a victory in the 200 free relay. The team of Brown, Chierighini, Manning and Krug swam an “A” time of 1:16.56, beating the Florida squad by almost two seconds.
Sophomore Kyle Owens had a stellar performance in the 200 IM as the Johnson City, Tenn., product took third in a career-best time of 1:44.28. Senior Andrew Mitchell qualified for the championship final and was eighth overall in 1:47.23. Freshman Nimrod Hayet and sophomore Stuart Ferguson competed in the consolation final, taking 10th (1:46.67) and 13th (1:47.93), respectively.
Auburn freshman Zane Grothe opened up the meet competing in the championship final of the 500 free. The Boulder City, Nev., native finished fifth in a career-best time of 4:17.99.
Friday opens with the preliminary session at 10 a.m. from the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. The morning starts with the 400 IM and follows with the 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle, 100 breaststroke and 100 backstroke.