March 15, 2007
The Tennessee men's swim team finished the first day of the NCAA Championships Thursday in Minneapolis, Minn. The Volunteers dropped down as far as 24th-place on the day before the 400 medley relay resurrected their morale and their overall ranking to 12th-place. This was a much-needed boost after a slow start.
"Tonight we really mis-stepped which is partly on the swimmers' shoulders and partly on the coaches' shoulders," UT head coach John Trembley said. "The 200 freestyle relay went from ninth to 15th which is really unacceptable."
Tennessee started the day with the 200 freestyle relay, coming into the NCAA meet with an 11th seed in the event which they achieved when they reached their 1:19.12 seed time at the Princeton Invitational during December. The Vols placed ninth in Thursday's preliminaries which put them one position too high to qualify for the top-heat of finals. The relay which consisted of Octavio Alesi, Barry Murphy, Nolan Morrell and Jeff Sudbury swam a time of 1:18.49. The Auburn Tigers placed first in preliminaries with a time of 1:15.56 that broke the NCAA record of 1:15.78 set by California Golden Bears in March of 2005.
Tennessee went on to fall back to 15th-place in the consolation final with a time 1:19.15. In that finish, the Vols earned honorable mention All-America status. The Tigers won the event as they re-broke their record set in the morning preliminaries as they raced in with a time of 1:14.71.
The Vols failed to qualify anyone for the next two events - the 500 freestyle and 200 individual medley. Southern California's Larsen Jensen, Stanford's Shaun Phillips and Arizona's Jean Basson rounded out the top-three in the 500 freestyle. Arizona's Adam Ritter, Northwestern's Matt Grevers and Florida's Lucas Salatta took the top-three positions in the 200 individual medley after which the Vols dropped to 18th overall.
In the 50 freestyle, sophomore Murphy and Junior Alesi went into the race with 15th and 25th seeds, respectively. Their best times - 19.68 and 19.80 - also came at the Princeton Invitational. Alesi swam a 19.66 which bought him 18th-place. Murphy struggled and just managed a time of 20.14 which was only good enough for 38th-place. Auburn's Cesar Cielo won the race in a new NCAA record time of 18.69. After the finals, the Vols fell to 19th overall.
"Murphy started the meet slowly today," Trembley said. "And in part because of that, we substituted Andrew Engle on the 200 freestyle relay. He certainly earned his spot by qualifying this relay at this Championship. After a good afternoon of rest, stretching and manipulation of his muscles and joints, he came out tonight and did what we asked him to do which was to forget that he started the meet on a disappointing note, look forward to the opportunities ahead and build all the way through the competition. Murphy had a quantum jump tonight in the 100 breaststroke (during the 400 medley relay). He had his best time, by seven-tenths of a second, that turned out to be the leg of the 400 medley relay that put us into place to finish 5th. I'm very, very proud of Barry Murphy because he overcame some adversity which he experienced early in the meet."
At the SEC Championships, Tennessee's 400 medley relay built up of Michael Wolfe, Murphy, Alesi and Morrell gained a 16th seed for the NCAA meet with a time of 3:13.15. In today's 400 medley relay preliminaries, Brad Boswell, Murphy, Alesi and Morrell clinched All-America honors and exploded into 8th place in 3:10.79, erasing 2.5 seconds off their cut-time. In the finals, the Vols captured 5th place with a time of 3:09.48.
"In the 400 medley, Boswell, Murphy, Alesi and Morrell all swam four great legs and, of course, earned their medals and their team points as well," Trembley said. "Anytime you win a relay, your team points jump considerably."
Tennessee earned 28 points on the relay and jumped 24th to 12th. Trembley seemed to be pleased with today's performance.
"The Team knows that my goal for this team was 12th in the NCAAs Championships," Trembley said. "We, with a strong day tomorrow, can move up. If we miscue, we can move down. We need to make good decisions, race hard in the morning and stay focused at night when we have swimmers in the consolation finals. Other teams will miscue and they will make mistakes. That's a part of the game as we saw tonight with one of the teams being disqualified in the medley relay. Minimize mistakes, maximize opportunities and this team will have a very good finish at the NCAA meet."
Tomorrow's agenda has slated the 200 medley relay, 400 individual medley, 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 100 backstroke, 3-meter diving and 800 freestyle relay. The preliminaries begin at noon and the finals follow at 7 that evening.
2007 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships
Day 1: March 15, 2007
|200 Freestyle Relay|
|1. Larsen Jensen (U. Southern Cal)||4:09.80|
|2. Shaun Phillips (Stanford)||4:13.07|
|3. Jean Basson (Arizona)||4:13.44|
|4. Matt Patton (Michigan)||4:14.91|
|5. Michael Klueh (Texas)||4:14.95|
|200 Individual Medley|
|1. Adam Ritter (Arizona)||1:41.72|
|2. Matt Grevers (Northwestern)||1:41.96|
|3. Lucas Salatta (Florida)||1:43.69|
|4. Bradley Ally (Florida)||1:43.85|
|5. Shaune Fraser (Florida)||1:44.93|
|1. Cesar Cielo (Auburn)||18.69|
|2. Matt Targett (Auburn)||19.08|
|2. Albert Subirats (Auburn)||19.08|
|2. Ben Wildman-Tobriner (Stanford)||19.08|
|5. Scott Goodrich (Auburn)||19.29|
|18. Octavio Alesi (Tennessee)||19.66|
|38. Barry Murphy (Tennessee)||20.14|
|1. Terry Horner (Florida State)||399.35|
|2. Magnus Frick (Hawaii)||395.05|
|3. Steven Segerlin (Auburn)||371.40|
|4. Kellen Harkness (Ohio State)||359,55|
|5. Eric Sehn (Texas A&M)||347.45|
|400 Medley Relay|
|Overall Rankings after Day 1|