Auburn's swimming and diving program is pretty good. We can all agree on that, can't we? The Auburn men have only won the last fifteen (15!) SEC championships in a row and sixteen of the last seventeen, and the women aren't too shabby either.
Auburn's swimming and diving program has won several national championships and placed enough athletes in the Olympics to be considered a country all on its own -- a small island country with a mutant breed of super swimmers! Cats aren't supposed to like water, but these Tigers love the pool! And as the great AU Aquatics t-shirts say, "There's nothing meaner than a wet cat."
The men and women are off to a fast start up in Knoxville. The men's team is tied with Tennessee for first place and the women's team is in second place behind the Vols after the first day of the 2012 SEC Swimming and Diving Championships at the Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center at the University of Tennessee.
The first day of competition yielded three first-place finishes for the Tigers. Senior diver Vennie Dantin won the women's 1m board championship to start things off.
Dantin began the day by setting a pool record during the morning prelims with a score of 320.90. She followed that up by besting that score, setting new records for Auburn and Tennessee facilities with a score of 332.40. She led from wire to wire, never trailing at the end of any round during the prelims and the finals. Vennie vidi vici! Fellow diver Anna Aguero finished eighth in the 1m championships while Schuelein and Calabretta also scored points for Auburn.
The women's 200m medley relay (Emily Bos, Lauren Norberg, Olivia Scott, and Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace) finished 2nd with an NCAA ‘A' cut time of 1:36.47. Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace, who is arguably Auburn's most exciting swimmer to watch, swam a 50-yard split of 20.80 seconds, which is the fastest 50-yard split by any female swimmer at any level. Arianna looks to better her times in Day 2 in the 50- yard preliminaries and finals. Vanderpool-Wallace is the current record holder in this event in the NCAA, and you wouldn't be out of line to expect another record time from her on Thursday.
The 800m freestyle relay team (Katie Gardocki, Becca Jones, Megan Fonteno, and Olivia Scott) placed fourth to close out Day 1 for the women.
The men got the day started off on a positive note when the 200m medley relay (Kyle Owens, Stuart Ferguson, Marcelo Chierighini, and Karl Krug) beat Georgia in a convincing fashion, by nearly two seconds. It was the Tigers sixth win in the last seven years in the event. Over in the deeper end of the pool, John Santeiu and Fraser McKean placed fourth and eighth, respectively, in the men's 3m diving finals.
The men closed out the night in thrilling fashion. The 800m relay (Kyle Owens, James Disney-May, Allen Browning, and Zane Grothe) edged out Florida by 0.23 seconds to take the title for just the second time in the past twelve years. Grothe overtook the Florida anchor in the final five yards to secure the win for the Tigers.
Here are the complete standings after the end of Day 1:
WOMEN: Tennessee 118, Auburn 101, LSU 74, Georgia 72, South Carolina 67, Florida 66, Arkansas 59, Alabama 58, Vanderbilt 32, Kentucky 30. Expect Florida and Georgia to rise through the ranks in Day 2.
MEN: Auburn 106, Tennessee 106, LSU 73, Georgia 73, Kentucky 71, Florida 67, South Carolina 63, Alabama 24. Once again, expect Florida and Georgia to gain ground in Day 2. It should also be noted that both teams for Tennessee had two divers place in the top 8, yielding deceitfully high scores; their ranks will fall as the swimming events unfold.
Day 2 began at 9 a.m. with the prelims. Follow @AuburnSwimming on Twitter to receive live updates of the meet. Day 2 includes the 500 freestyle, 200 IM, 50 freestyle, women's 3-meter, and men's 1-meter diving. Live stats and streaming video can be found at UTSports.com, and a live blog will be running over at AuburnTigers.com.