The Auburn men's swimming and diving team is currently sitting in fifth place after Day 1 of the 2012 NCAA Men's Swimming & Diving Championships being held at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center just outside Seattle.
The men's meet is shaping up to be just as competitive as the women's meet. Four or five teams are vying for the top spot with Auburn in the mix. Similar to the women's team, 11 swimmers and one diver qualified for the meet. Auburn had a swimmer in every final Thursday night.
Day one of competition opened up with the 200 free relay. Auburn was seeded fourth for the final, but the men managed to track down Arizona and Texas in the last 50 yards of the race to take second with a time of 1:16.67. California took first with a time of 1:16.58.
Zane Grothe represented Auburn in the 500 free. Grothe continues to come up big for the Tigers by shaving time off his PR and Auburn record. Grothe was seeded fifth for the final, but he finished fourth with a time of 4:15.42. Grothe's contributions mean a lot to a team that is traditionally weak in mid-distance swimming. Kyle Owens finished eighth in the 200 IM with a time of 1:44.85.
Auburn may be weak in mid-distance, but the sprinting program continues to be among the best in the country. Drew Modrov placed fifth in the prelims to qualify for the final, and Karl Krug and Chierighini tied for 11th to qualify for the consolation final. Krug placed 11th with a time of 19.49 and Chierighini tied for 15th at 19.65. Modrov fell to eighth in the final with a time of 19.62. The 50 free is a hard race to swim with the outcome based heavily on reaction time at the start and the flip turn at the halfway mark.
Day one ended with the 400 medley relay. Auburn's team made up of Owens, Stuart Ferguson, TJ Leon, and Chierighini bettered their prelim time by two seconds to finish fifth with a time of 3:06.51. One meter diving was also held on Thursday, but Jon Santeiu did not qualify for either final.
Top eight overall team scores after Thursday night are California (157.5), Stanford (140), Texas (128.5), Arizona (118), Auburn (106.5), Michigan (84), Southern California (79), and Florida (58).
Competition resumes today with prelims at 1 p.m. CST and finals at 9 p.m. CST. Events include 200 medley relay, 400 IM, 100 fly, 200 free, 100 breast, 100 back, 3-meter diving, and 800 free relay.
You can watch live results and video on NCAA.com or you can follow @AuburnSwimming on Twitter for live updates.