March 23, 2006

ATLANTA - An electric atmosphere surrounded the 12th-ranked Tennessee men's swimming and diving team Thursday as it began competition at the 2006 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships in Atlanta, Ga., Georgia Tech Aquatic Center.

The Vols scored in both the 200 free relay and the 400 medley relay to place 14th with 22 points after the first day. A true team effort followed the relays from the bench area. Strong support could be seen and heard from a loud orange-clad team on the pool deck.

Support for the Big Orange was also prominently seen by the mass fan section made up of friends and family.

Auburn leads the competition with 178.5 points followed by Arizona in second with 136.5. Stanford is third with 132 and Florida is fourth with 97.

"Based on our seeds in our events today we had a good day," UT head coach John Trembley said. "We are sitting in 14th which is an improvement from last year."

The youth of the Vols was shown in the 11th-place 200 free relay with only one of the four participants being a senior. Freshman Barry Murphy led the relay after sophomore Octavio Alesi led the preliminary relay.

Alesi followed Murphy in the finals along with junior Brad Boswell and senior Tyler Gustafson to touch the wall in 1:19.79. Murphy's split time in the preliminary was a personal best time as well was Gustafson's anchor split time in the finals.

Boswell led 12th-place 400 medley relay in the backstroke with Alesi, senior Kiel Huston and Gustafson also participating. Gustafson anchored in the >freestyle and finished in 3:12.57. Murphy swam the breaststroke leg in the prelim with his split time being a personal best.

"We moved up in the 400 medley and maintained our spot in the 200 free relay," Trembley added. "Murphy swam lights out on the freestyle and breaststroke. Tyler Gustafson had two lifetime bests which is great to see."



Senior Casey Dauw finished 22nd in the 200 individual medley in 1:47.17 in his last NCAA competition.

"Tomorrow is a very strong day for us," Trembley said. "We have swimmers in every event but one tomorrow. We anticipate scoring and having a great second day at the national championships."

Competition continues Friday and Saturday with preliminaries beginning at Noon followed by finals at 7 p.m. each day.



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