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A spirit that is not afraid

Get to know the Tigers headed to Tokyo

Zach Apple
Zach Apple

The Auburn Family has a lot to look forward to this summer, with former, current and future Tigers competing in this year's Summer Olympics and Summer Paralympics. 


Suni Lee will be headed to The Plains this fall, but before she arrives, she'll be competing for Team USA in Tokyo. At the two-day U.S. Olympic Trials, Lee finished first on bars and beam and finished second in the all-around. On the second day of competition, she defeated Simone Biles in the all-around, which was the first time that Biles had been beaten in the all-around since 2013.  

Lee will head into the Olympics with international experience as a member of Team USA at the 2019 World Gymnastics Championship, where she took home a silver medal on floor and a bronze on bar. Team USA as a whole took home a gold medal at the 2019 World Gymnastics Championship.


Emily Carosone, a dual citizen of the U.S. and Italy, will represent Team Italy in the Olympics and is Auburn softball's first-ever Olympian.

During her collegiate career as a second baseman, Carosone helped lead Auburn to two SEC Tournament Championships along with back-to-back Women’s College World Series appearances. The former Auburn second baseman holds numerous program records, including batting average (.406), hits (285), runs (267), on-base percentage (.534) and hit by pitches (85). 

After graduating in 2016, Carosone returned to The Plains as a volunteer assistant coach for the Tigers during the 2018 and 2019 seasons but left shortly before the 2020 season began to train for the Olympics.

Team Italy and Carosone will begin play on July 21 at 10 p.m. CST. 


Adriel Sanes will be representing the U.S. Virgin Islands in the men's 200m breaststroke this summer. This will be Sanes' first Olympics. 

Sanes transferred to Auburn in the spring to pursue a master’s in engineering management-manufacturing after attending the University of Denver for three years. 

The men's 200m breaststroke heat will be on July 27. 

Zach Apple spent three years at Auburn before transferring to Indiana for his senior year. Apple will be competing in two events for Team USA, including the men's 100m freestyle, 4x100m freestyle relay. This will be Apple's first time competing at the Olympics. 

The men's 100m freestyle heat and the men's 4x200m freestyle relay heat will both be on July 27. The men's 4x100m freestyle relay will be on July 25.  

Luis Martinez will be traveling to Tokyo under the Guatemalan flag. Guatemala will have experience with Martinez in the pool as he is a former Olympian. In the 2016 Olympic games, Martinez finished 19th in the 100m butterfly. 

In the Tokyo Olympics, Martinez will be swimming the 100m butterfly. The men's 100m butterfly heat will be on July 29. 

Santiago Grassi is from Argentina and will represent them in Tokyo. Grassi represented Argentina in the 2016 Rio Olympics, where he competed in men’s 100m butterfly, falling short in the heat. In this summer's games, Grassi will be competing in the men's 100m butterfly once again.

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The men's 100m butterfly heat will be on July 29.   

Annie Lazor, a 2016 Auburn graduate, is the first female swimmer from Auburn on Team USA since Micah Lawrence in 2012. The 26-year-old is the oldest American woman to qualify for her first Olympic team in the pool in 17 years, according to NBC Sports.  

Lazor will compete in the women's 200m breaststroke in Tokyo. The women's 200m breaststroke heat will be on July 28.  

Julie Meynen represented Luxembourg in the 2016 Olympics and will do it again this summer in the 100m freestyle and 50m freestyle. In the 2016 Olympics, Meynen finished 26th in the 50m freestyle (25.12) and 25th in the 100m freestyle (55.09) and set Luxembourg's national record in both events and has broken those records since. 

The 2020 Auburn graduate will swim in the 100m freestyle heat on July 28 and then the 50m freestyle heat on July 30. Both events' semifinals are a day after the heat, with finals the day after the semifinals. 

Marcelo Chierighini will be taking part in his third consecutive Olympics for Brazil. In his first Olympics in 2012, he and his teammates finished 15th in the 4x100 medley relay and ninth in the 4x100 freestyle relay. 

Chierighini competed in 2016, where he and his teammates finished fifth in the 4x100 freestyle relay and sixth in the 4x100 medley relay. Along with his two relay events, he swam in the 100m freestyle and finished eighth. 

This summer in Tokyo, Chierighini will be a member of Brazil's 4x100m freestyle relay team. The men's 4x100m freestyle relay will be on July 25.


Tim Puetz is Auburn's first-ever Olympian in men's tennis and will represent Germany in this year's games. A 2011 graduate of Auburn, Puetz will compete in men's doubles tennis and will most likely be paired up with Kevin Krawietz.

The first round of men's doubles tennis will start on July 24, with the first round ending on July 25.


Rachel Dincoff finished third in discus at the U.S. Olympic Trials to qualify her for the Tokyo Olympics. Dincoff is Auburn's first U.S. track and field Olympian since 2004 and is the program's first-ever female in the sport to represent the United States. 

Once in Tokyo, the qualifying round in women's discus will be on July 30 from 7-10 p.m. CST.  

Donald Thomas has been named to Team Bahamas to compete in men's high jump at the Tokyo Olympics. Thomas will be competing in his fourth straight Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Thomas' best results came at the 2016 London Games where he came in seventh place with a jump of 2.29m.

While at Auburn, Thomas won both the 2007 high-jump national championship and world championship and was a two-time NCAA All-American.

The qualifying round for men's high jump will begin on July 30 at 7 p.m. CST.


At the Summer Paralympics, Auburn wheelchair basketball head coach Robb Taylor will be going for his third gold medal as an assistant coach. From 2002-08, Taylor worked with the U.S. women's national Paralympic basketball team and served as an assistant coach from 2005-08. 

In 2008, Taylor took home a gold medal as an assistant with the women's team during the Beijing Olympics. In 2013, he became an assistant with the U.S. men's Paralympic team, which took home gold in 2016. 

In Tokyo, Taylor will serve as an assistant coach on this year's men's team.

The Plainsman will continue to update this story.

Kristen Carr | Sports Writer

Kristen is a sophomore majoring in journalism with a minor in business. She is also the host of our sports podcast, Page 8, that can be found on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and SoundCloud. 

Twitter: @kristencarrau

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