Stiff competition has Auburn sitting in fifth place after Day one of the NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships. Auburn is hosting the envent at the James E. Martin Aquatics Center, and records are falling fast.
Auburn has 11 swimmers and two divers representing their home pool this weekend. The first day of the meet proved to be an exciting one as several NCAA and American records fell. The defending national champion, University of California, is currently in the lead with an unbelievable performance on the first day.
Competition started off with the 200 free relay. As expected with all races in this meet, the relay was very close with the top five teams all finishing within one second of one another. The Auburn women finished fifth with a school record time of 1:27.82. Stanford took first in the event with a time of 1:26.85. California, Arizona, and Texas rounded out the top four in the race.
Katie Gardocki just missed making the 500 free consolation final for Auburn by 0.17 seconds. Southern California's Haley Anderson took the title in the event. Next up was the 200 IM and once again Auburn did not have a swimmer qualify for this event. California's Caitlin Leverenz swam a blistering fast time of 1:51.77 to take the title and post new NCAA and U.S. Open records. USC's Katinka Hosszu finished just 0.03 seconds behind Leverenz to also finish under the NCAA record.
One of the most highly anticipated events for Auburn fans on day one was the 50 free. Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace broke the pool record in the preliminaries to finish first with a time of 21.46 and was looking to build on that performance in the finals. Alas, the defending NCAA champion in the event was unable to win the finals and finished third with a time of 21.65. A third place finish might be disappointing for her but her biggest event is the 100 free - remember she holds the NCAA record in the 100 free. Look for her to come back with a vengence on Saturday night during the 100 free final.
The 1-meter diving competition was also held Thursday night. Vennie Dantin scored 16 big points for Auburn with her third place finish with 337.60 points. The mark is a PR for Dantin and allowed her to beat her own Auburn record. USC's Victoria Ishimatsu took first with a score of 354.10. The competition came down to the wire as Ishimatsu had to beat out Texas A&M's Jaele Patrick on the final dive. The rest of the diving competition should be fun to watch these divers fight it out on every dive.
Day one ended with the 400 medley relay. Auburn finished fifth with a time of 3:30.38. California finished first and broke another NCAA record with a time of 3:28.10. After the first day of competition, the top ten teams are: Cal (132), USC (118), Stanford (118), Arizona (107), Auburn (94), Georgia (91), Texas A&M (89), Texas (74), Tennessee (73), Missouri (44).
Day Two preliminaries started at 11 a.m. and finals will start at 7 p.m. today. Events will include the 200 medley relay, 400 IM, 100 butterfly, 100 backstroke, 3-meter diving, and 800 freestyle. There should be a limited number of tickets available at the door for $15. You can also watch the action live at NCAA.com or follow the results from @AuburnSwimming on Twitter.