Auburn swimmers roll to fifth straight NCAA title

Sunday, March 18, 2007
For The Birmingham News

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - On the phone Saturday afternoon, the 11-year-old son of Auburn's men's swimming and diving coach referred to it as the "dirty dozen."

That's the number of national championships his dad, David Marsh, has won as coach of the Tigers' men's and women's teams.

This year's men's championship wasn't official at the time of the family conversation, but it didn't take long for that to become a formality.

With 566 points, the Tigers wrapped up their fifth consecutive title, finishing 169 points better than Stanford on Saturday night at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.

For its efforts, the team was honored across the board.

Marsh was named coach of the year, Jeff Shaffer diving coach of the year, Steven Segerlin diver of the year and Cesar Cielo swimmer of the year.

"We're very proud," Marsh said. "The entire community embraces this team. Football is king and queen, but when I came in 1990 and had to rebuild the whole program my passion was to infuse pride back into the program.

"Once that started happening, we started winning championships."

The highlights Saturday for Auburn came in the 100-yard freestyle and 400-yard freestyle relay events.

In the 100 freestyle, Cielo, a sophomore already having an outstanding meet with a record in Thursday's 50-yard freestyle, followed that up by swimming Saturday's 100-yard event in 41.17 seconds, an NCAA record. Junior Matt Targett was sixth, finishing in 42.71.

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