Feb. 17, 2009

Courtesy of Auburn Athletics

AUBURN, Ala. - The Auburn swimming and diving team are set to host the 2009 SEC Swimming and Diving Championships Feb. 18-21 at the James E. Martin Aquatics Center in Auburn.

The conference meet marks the first time since 2003, and the third time this decade, the James E. Martin Aquatics Center was selected to host the Southeastern Conference Championships.  The last time the Championships were in Auburn, the Auburn men and women tallied 20 titles
on route to a conference sweep.   It had been 10 years since a single
school wore both crowns.

"I think it’s intimidating when you walk in," said Auburn co-head men's coach Brett Hawke.  "It’s unlike any other pool in the country.
There’s no pool where you walk in and see the banners  for 12 years in a row. 

"We know they’ll be coming after us so we’re going to do everything we can to continue that streak.” 

The Auburn men are looking to claim their 13th-consecutive SEC title and their 15th in the last 16 years. The Auburn women are vying for their sixth SEC title after winning the championship in five of the past six years.

The men have dominated nine events in recent years - the 50 free, 100 free, 100 back, 100 fly, 200 free relay, 400 free relay, 200 medley relay, 400 medley relay and platform diving.

The Tigers have won 10 of the last 12 in the 50 free, nine of the last
12 in the 100 free, won three of the last four years in the 100 back and 10 of the last 14 in the 100 fly.

Auburn has also had a strong presence in the SEC relays, winning nine of the last 11 200 free relays, 11 of the last 15 400 free relays, five of the last six 200 medley relays and 10 of the last 12 400 medley relays.

Auburn juniors Kelly Marx and Dan Mazzaferro look to defend their 2008 SEC titles.  Marx won the 1-meter while Mazzaferro claimed the platform.

“It’s a great advantage to dive in your home pool in front of the Auburn community that’s been very supportive of what we do," said Auburn head diving coach Jeff Shaffer. "It’s wonderful for them to get the opportunity for them to get to showcase their talents in front of their student peers, not just their teammates."

The Tigers have dominated the platform, winning six of the last seven years.

While the Auburn women have seen success in nearly every event in the championship program, a few events stand out recently as being Auburn specialties. The Tigers have won the 1650 free each of the past five years, the 400 IM the past nine years, the 100 back six of the past seven years, the 200 IM in seven of the past eight years and the 200 back in four of the past seven years.

"Everyone in the conference is excited to be holding the meet in a fast pool," said Auburn co-head women's coach Dorsey Tierney-Walker. "We have a fantastic facility with a lot of water and deck space. 

“For us it’s business as usual.  It’s time to get your head into SEC Championship mode.  For us, that’s about us being around each other – eating together, traveling to and from the pool together. “

The SEC Championship runs Feb. 18-21 with opening events kicking off at noon Wednesday with the 200 medley relay prelims.