Auburn captures SEC title
Tigers hold slim 17-point advantage against Gators at end
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Auburn captured its 15th consecutive Southeastern Conference Swimming and Diving Championship title on Saturday at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center hosted by the University of Florida. Auburn won with 799 points, while Florida was second with 782 points.
"This is the way this meet is supposed to be," head coach Brett Hawke said. "The SEC is an extremely tough conference and Florida always gives us a run for our money. We have a tough team and winning the SEC title is a part of who we are. We have a tradition of excellence and this is an amazing team. I couldn't be more proud of their fight and will to hold on in the end."
The conference crown was the 17th title for the Tiger men overall, all coming in the last 18 years.
The finish marked the 10th year in a row that the Tigers and Gators have finished 1-2 in the SEC meet. The 17-point difference was the closest finish between the two teams. Last season, Auburn topped Florida by 19 points, 784-765.
With an 11-point lead against the Gators heading into the final event, the sprinting quartet of Adam Brown, Karl Krug, Drew Modrov and Kohlton Norys never let up as the team finished first in the 400 free relay with an NCAA "A" cut time of 2:49.95, besting the Gator team by two seconds.
The Gators took a 576-550 lead following the evening's first event of the 1,650 free, but the Tigers rallied back in the final five events starting with the 200 back.
The Auburn backstrokers gave the Tigers a solid lead after two events. Sophomore Kyle Owens logged a career-best and an "A" cut time of 1:40.36 to finish in a close second, while junior Max Murphy swam a "B" time of 1:42.89 to take third.
Also scoring points in the 200 back were a pair of seniors in Norys and Jared White. Norys was sixth overall in a "B" time of 1:44.16, while White was 11th in a "B" time of 1:45.59.
The Tigers gained more ground in the team competition after the 100 freestyle as four Auburn sprinters competed in the championship final. Senior Adam Brown clocked the evening's top time of 41.92, capturing an "A" cut time and the nation's fastest time in the event so far.
The win is the 15th overall 100 freestyle victory in Auburn history and the ninth year in a row a Tiger has been on top of the podium in the event.
"Adam (Brown) has taken another step towards becoming one of the fastest swimmers in the world," Hawke said. "He proved that this week by putting himself above the rest. I'm really proud of him and am expecting big things come NCAAs."
Junior Karl Krug finished third in the event, recording a career-best time of 42.78. Freshman Marcelo Chierighini was fourth in 42.82, while Modrov was seventh in 43.34. Freshman Chris Manning scored points for Auburn in the consolation final, finishing 12th in 44.11.
Zane Grothe got things started right for Auburn as the Boulder City, Nevada, product concluded his first conference championship strong with a fourth-place finish in the 1,650 free. The freshman finished in a school-record time of 14:57.46, breaking the nine-year record held by Kevin Clements. The finish marked the first time since 2006 a Tiger has finished fourth or better in the event.
Auburn senior Adam Klein and sophomore Stuart Ferguson put together two big performances in the 200 breaststroke to give Auburn a larger lead after four events. The pair finished tied for fourth with a "B" time of 1:57.36.
In the final individual event of the evening, Auburn senior Robert Looney reached the 200 butterfly championship final and finished eighth overall in 1:46.64. The Tigers got points from a pair of flyers in the consolation final as senior Andrew Mitchell was 11th (1:45.84) and freshman Nimrod Hayet was 13th (1:46.36).