The Auburn Tigers are a dominant force in swimming.

February 20, 2012 — Unlike most cats, tigers show a real affinity for water.  They enjoy swimming and are quite good at it.

Yes they are.

For the 16th consecutive season the Auburn Men’s Swimming and Diving team won the SEC Championship.
For all the talk about domination of this, domination of that, this is what true domination looks like.

That’s not 16 total SEC titles. That’s 16 straight, 16 in a row, back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-… you get the idea.

The Tigers also won 18 of the last 19 SEC titles.

That’s domination on an epic scale.

Only two teams in the history of SEC sports have performed at that consistently high level. Florida volleyball won 18 straight SEC titles between 1991 and 2008. The Arkansas men’s cross country team won 17 straight SEC crowns between 1991 and 2007.

The Tiger swim team eclipsed second place Florida scoring 730.5 points to win the 2012 SEC Championship. The Gators closed with 700.  It was the 11th straight runner up finish for Florida.

The Auburn Women’s Team finished fourth in the competition held at the Allan Jones Aquatic Center at the University of Tennessee.

Auburn coach Brett Hawke was named SEC Coach of the Year.

The men’s 400 freestyle relay team of Drew Modrov, James Disney-May, Kyle Owens and Marcelo Chierighini won on the final day of the event with a time of 2:51.66. It was the ninth year in a row the Auburn men won the relay.  Auburn’s men won all five relays during the week.

Owens also took gold in the 200 backstroke with a time of 1:41.67. Teammate Max Murphy was second, finishing with a time of 1:42.59.

He scored the second-most individual points of any swimmer in the meet with 57.

Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace broke her own SEC and NCAA record in the 100 freestyle with a time of 46.61, swimming the leadoff leg of the women’s 400 freestyle relay.

Total domination.

We’ll be the first to admit that swimming doesn’t carry the glamour or panache of the big three sports: football, basketball and baseball/softball.

We’re also willing to admit that we don’t know as much about the sport of swimming as we probably should. We aren’t completely sure how points are scored and, like most of the world, typically pay the most attention to the sport during Olympic years.

We do, however know what true domination looks like. And this is it.

Auburn swimmers don’t just dominate the SEC; they extend that aura of success globally.

The Auburn men’s and women’s teams own 13 national team titles since 1997, the men winning eight and the women taking five.

Forty-two Auburn men have claimed a total of 121 individual swimming and diving national championships, including nine titles won by current Tiger head coach Hawke.

Between 1997 and 1999 Hawke won individual championships in the 50 freestyle, the 200 freestyle relay twice, the 400 freestyle relay twice, the 200 medley relay three times, and the 400 medley relay.

Twenty-one Auburn women have taken a total of 49 individual swimming and diving national championships.

That’s a portrait of true domination.

Auburn men and women have also fared well in Olympic events.

Twelve Auburn swimmers and divers competed in the 2004 Olympics in Atlanta winning five medals.

In 2008 the Tigers broke that record with six athletes winning a total of 13 medals:  three gold, seven silver and three bronze.

Rowdy Gaines is one of the most decorated swimmers in Auburn history. Gaines competed in the 1984 Los Angeles games, where he won three gold medals.

Kristy Coventry was  the first Auburn woman swimmer to medal in an Olympics in the 2004 games when she won gold, silver and bronze medals.   She won four more medals, including a gold, at the 2008 games. She set an Auburn career record for Olympic medals.

Former Auburn coaches David Marsh, Jeff Shaffer and Richard Quick have all coached U.S. Olympic Teams.

We may not completely understand how the sport is scored, but we have no problem recognizing total Auburn domination.

War Eagle to Coach Hawke and the SEC Champions!


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