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A spirit that is not afraid

Auburn swimming adds to NCAA championship roster

<p>Feb. 5, 2022; Auburn, Ala.; Samuel Oliver competing during the Auburn Invitational from the James E. Martin Aquatics Center.</p>

Feb. 5, 2022; Auburn, Ala.; Samuel Oliver competing during the Auburn Invitational from the James E. Martin Aquatics Center.

An Everything School. That's what Auburn believes, and its men's and women's swim team proved that statement to be true this weekend. The Tigers hosted the Auburn Invitational against the University of Florida, University of Alabama, Florida State University and Emory University. 

The team's hope at this meet was to expand their NCAA championship roster and improve their times before heading off to the SEC championship in two weeks. The Tigers were able to add the men’s 200 freestyle relay to their NCAA roster when they finished with a time of 1:16.82. 

This time puts them second in the SEC behind Florida's nine-time defending champion team. This is Auburn's fastest time in this event since the 2017-18 season. Swimmers Aidan Stoffle, Nate Stoffle, Logan Tirheimer, and Matthew Yish comprised the team. 

The freestyle relay will join Auburn’s two other relays, the men’s 200 medley relay and the women's 200 freestyle relay. Earlier this season, swimmer Reid Mikuta had already qualified for NCAA championships with an Auburn record of 51.33 in the 100 breast. 

Qualification times were not the only good thing that happened for the Tigers this weekend. Auburn had five swimmers work their way into the top 10 fastest times in school history. Mikkel Gadgaard tied the sixth-fastest overall time in 200 freestyle with 1:34.12. Lleyton Smith was able to hoist herself into the top 10 in 100 backstroke after swimming a 46.28. 

Two freshmen both moved into ninth place in their events. Avery Bargeron swam a 52.43 in the 100 butterfly. Anastasia Makarova swam a 59.98 in the 100 backstroke. 

Sophomore Meghan Lee set personal bests in both her 200 backstroke and 200 individual medley (IM) events. She finished 200 back with a time of 1:53.00, putting her in seventh place overall. In her IM swim she finished in 1:57.59, making her the ninth fastest in history. 

If this weekend was a preview into the coming weeks, then the Tigers are set up for success. 

Keep an eye out for some top relay finishes along with some top individual swimmers as well. The SEC swimming championship will be held from February 15-19 at the Jones Aquatic Center in Knoxville, Tennessee. The NCAA championships will be held in late March in Atlanta, Georgia. 


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