Owens Wins 100 Back; Tigers Hang Onto Lead at SEC Championships (2024)

Feb. 17, 2012


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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Auburn junior Kyle Owens was responsible for two victories on Friday night, winning the 100-yard backstroke and leading the 400 medley relay team to a win as the Tiger men held onto the lead through three days at the 2012 SEC Swimming & Diving Championships.

Auburn saw its lead over Florida shrink to a 20-point margin as the Gators put up several outstanding performances in the evening finals. The Tigers have 535 points to the Gators' 515 with five individual events and one relay on tap for Saturday. Tennessee has a slight lead over Georgia for third place; the Vols have 363 points to UGA's 362.

The narrow margin is nothing new to this group of Tigers. Last year, the Tigers led by 27 points heading into the final night and ended up winning by 17. In 2010, Auburn was ahead by just 13 points after Friday but managed to win by 19.

"This is a typical SEC swim meet," Auburn head coach Brett Hawke said. "Lots of ups and downs. I think my hair is going grey. But we went through this last year, so we know what it feels like. We know what we have to do in the morning. At the end of the day, the best team is going to win.

"We need a total team effort (Saturday); it can't be just two or three people. It needs to be 10, 11, 12 people stepping up and getting it done. We need numbers back in finals."

Auburn's women are in fourth place with 358 points, only 3.5 points behind third-place Florida. Georgia leads with 528 with Tennessee in second place with 436.5.

The highlight of the night for Auburn came as Owens, a Johnson City, Tenn., native, thrilled the fans in his home state with a win in the 100 backstroke. His time of 46.09 was just a tick slower than his preliminary time of 46.03, but fast enough to outpace Tennessee's Samuel Rairden, who clocked a 46.68. Auburn's Max Murphy tied Tennessee's Ricky Henahan for the bronze with a 47.17, and Brandon Siemasko took 8th place with a 48.87.

"Kyle was great," Hawke said. "He's been performing all year for us. He's one of the best in the nation, and he proved that today. It's always a lift for our team when you can get a win."

Owens was also responsible for giving the Tigers a lead they would not relinquish in the session-ending 400 medley relay. His leadoff leg of 46.45 was nearly two seconds faster than the rest of the field, and the team of Owens, Stuart Ferguson, Marcelo Chierighini and James Disney-May cruised to victory in 3:08.36, just a hair shy of an NCAA `A' cut.

"Our coaches always tell us not to be surprised by (winning) because we train for it every day," Owens said. "It's pretty cool (to win in my home state). The last time I swam here, I won two state titles for my high school, so it's good to be back."

Auburn got a big boost from sophom*ore John Santeiu, who repeated his silver medal-winning performance from last year's SEC meet with a runner-up finish in the platform diving event. His score of 382.10 earned big points for the Tigers, while freshmen Michael Beran and Fraser McKean also contributed with ninth- and 11th-place finishes, respectively, in prelims. Tennessee's Mauricio Robles won the event with a pool-record score of 438.35.

"Today we had some great dives and some missed opportunities," Auburn head diving coach Jeff Shaffer said. "John did a great job finishing second, but if he hits a couple more of his dives, he puts some pressure on Mauricio and it could be a different contest."

Stuart Ferguson took the silver in the 100 breaststroke final, clocking a 53.08 to finish just behind Georgia's Nic Fink (52.81). Chris Manning finished 8th in the championship final with a 54.29, and Chandler Gerlach was 14th overall with a 55.78 in the consolation.

Auburn got big points in the 200 freestyle with three swimmers in the championship final. James Disney-May earned the bronze medal with a third-place time of 1:35.03, while Zane Grothe was fifth in 1:35.80. Drew Modrov finished 8th with a 1:38.79, and Karl Krug took 15th overall with a 1:37.86 in the consolation final.

Marcelo Chierighini took sixth place in the 100 butterfly final with a 47.74, and TJ Leon was 8th in 47.91. Alex Hanco*ck turned in a strong performance in his first SEC consolation final, clocking a 47.91 of his own to finish second in the consolation, 10th overall.

On the women's side, sophom*ore Olivia Scott and senior Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace took silver and bronze, respectively, in the 100 butterfly. Scott clocked a 52.04 while Vanderpool-Wallace tied Tennessee's Kelsey Floyd with a 52.08 for third place. Freshman Megan Fonteno took 12th place overall with a time of 54.35 in the consolation final. UT's Jenny Connolly was a two-time winner on the night, taking the 100 fly in 51.49 and the 100 back in 51.37.

For Auburn in the 100 back, Emily Bos earned a fifth-place finish with a time of 53.29, and Hannah Riordan won the consolation final with a time of 54.53. And Sarah Peterson posted a 4:11.23 to finish seventh in the 400 IM championship.

Lauren Norberg barely missed the medal stand in the 100 breaststroke with a 1:00.54, just .05 back of the third-place finisher. Freshman Abby Duncan turned in a great swim with a 1:00.70 to finish fifth, while Lindsey Norberg (1:01.60) and Laura Johnson (1:02.02) took 12th and 15th, respectively.

In the 200 freestyle, Becca Jones posted an eighth-place finish with a time of 1:47.87. Katie Gardocki finished 12th overall with a 1:48.47 in the consolation final, while Haley Krakoski was 13th with a 1:48.99.

The night ended on a disappointing note for the Auburn women as the 400 medley relay was disqualified for an early takeoff.

The final day of the 2012 SEC Championships gets underway at 10 a.m. ET (9 a.m. CT) Saturday. Events include the 200s of the backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly, the 100 freestyle, 1650 freestyle, women's platform diving and 400 freestyle relay. Live results and live video are available through UTSports.com, and fans can follow a live blog at AuburnTigers.com and @AuburnSwimming on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

Auburn Swimming & Diving Results
2012 SEC Championships - Day 3 Finals
Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center - Knoxville, Tenn.
February 17, 2012

Men's Team Scores: Auburn 535, Florida 515, Tennessee 363, Georgia 362, LSU 295, Kentucky 207.5, Alabama 175, South Carolina 152.5

Women's Team Scores: Georgia 528, Tennessee 436.5, Florida 361.5, Auburn 358, LSU 254, Alabama 183, South Carolina 165, Arkansas 162, Kentucky 82, Vanderbilt 64

Auburn Top Finishers - Men: 400 IM: 11. Browning (3:51.50); 100 Fly: 6. Chierighini (47.74); 200 Free: 3. Disney-May (1:35.03); 100 Breast: 2. Ferguson (53.08); 100 Back: 1. Owens (46.09); Platform Diving: 2. Santeiu (382.10); 400 Medley Relay: 1. Owens, Ferguson, Chierighini, Disney-May (3:08.36)

Auburn Top Finishers - Women: 400 IM: 7. Peterson (4:11.23); 100 Fly: 2. Scott (52.04); 200 Free: 8. Jones (1:47.87); 100 Breast: 4. La. Norberg (1:00.54); 100 Back: 5. Bos (53.29); 400 Medley Relay: DQ

-Kyle Owens' time of 46.03 in the 100 backstroke prelims is the second-fastest time in the nation this year.
-Owens' win was Auburn's sixth 100 backstroke title in the last eight years.
-Auburn's men have won all four relays so far at the SEC Championships. The last time that happened was the 2009 SEC meet, which was hosted at Auburn's James E. Martin Aquatics Center.
-The Tigers have a 20-point lead with one day left; Auburn was ahead by 27 points heading into the final day last year and won by 17.
-It was an even narrower margin in 2010; Auburn led by 13 points going into the last day and won by 19.
-Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace and Olivia Scott have the second- and third-fastest times in the nation in the 100 butterfly this year.

Owens Wins 100 Back; Tigers Hang Onto Lead at SEC Championships (2024)


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