2004 WOMEN’S NCAA CHAMPIONS Clad in navy blue warm-up suits and brand-new, bright orange Nike 569 sneakers, the Auburn women’s swim 431 team members made for an intimidat369 ing bunch as they stepped onto the 253 pool deck to begin Saturday evening’s 237 round of finals during the 2004 NCAA 235.5 Women’s Swimming and Diving Cham195 169 pionship in College Station, Texas. 160 The top-ranked Tigers made their 135 entrance at Texas A&M’s Student Recreation Center Natatorium sporting an 2004 Auburn Titles even more confident look. • Jenni Anderson “To know you’re walking in as the 200 MR 2004 national champions is an incred• Eileen Coparropa ible accomplishment,” Auburn head 200 MR coach David Marsh told his Tigers in • Kirsty Coventry a team meeting before the evening 200 back competition. “And to win it before the • Margaret Hoelzer final session begins is an even greater 200 free, 200 MR • Laura Swander achievement.” 200 MR Auburn, which led from the opening night of the three-day meet, closed the door on the competition during Saturday morning’s preliminary swims, marking the third straight year that the AU women walked onto the deck as national champions even before the final session had begun. Auburn’s quest for their third straight national title began much more quietly than the first two did. There was no individual title on night one. Nor was there a relay that was first to the wall. But there was a sense of urgency, and a feeling of togetherness that allowed the Tigers to own the day one lead. “The competition is great here. It is at a world-class level. The ladies are improving toward that level, and that is what we are focusing on right now, making one step forward instead of big jumps forward,” Marsh said after the first night. “They are itching to win events but the goal is to accumulate points to win the championship. We are going to have to fight throughout the three days to be our best. It is not going to come easy” Day two was junior Margaret Hoelzer’s day to shine. The girl from Huntsville, Ala., raced in four events on Friday night, collecting a first- and second-place finish in her two individual events while also swimming on a record-setting relay and the final relay of the night as the Tigers continued to 2004 NCAA Results 1. Auburn 2. Georgia 3. Arizona 4. Florida 5. Stanford 6. California 7. UCLA 8. Texas 9. Southern Cal 10. Wisconsin
Auburn women stand on the podium for a third consecutive season.
increase their lead. Auburn and Hoelzer picked up their first NCAA title of the year in the first event of the night, swimming to a new NCAA and US Open Record in the 200 medley relay. Hoelzer, who was seeded seventh and raced in lane one of the 200 free, took her first individual crown with a NCAA-record time of 1:56.16. Hoelzer had the fastest split on every leg in the field but the last and was the lone swimmer to have every split under 30 seconds. Hoelzer finished her individual night by leading the Tiger charge in the 100 backstroke as the junior stroked to a second- place finish. The Tigers’ final relay of night two produced a fourth-place finish as the AU quartet of Kirsty Coventry, Heather Kemp, Adrienne Binder and Hoelzer combined for the 800 freestyle relay. “To be honest, I was pretty tired by the time the 800 rolled around,” Hoelzer said. “It was a huge race and you don’t have a chance to think about your own feelings.You have to do what’s best for the team and suck it up and try to take one for the team.” Coventry capped off the championships by taking the crown in the 200 backstroke. “It was a good race, probably my best race of the whole meet,” Coventry said. “I just wanted to go out there and have fun and that is exactly what I did. It just all came together for me tonight.” The Auburn senior class closed out their collegiate swimming careers in style, racking up a total of 569 points, the most in program history and the highest total at the NCAA Championships since 1993. “We are very thrilled and honored to come out of here with a victory,” AU Coach David Marsh said. “What I think you saw during this meet was really truly how many awesome swimmers there are in the NCAAs. One of the things I tell my team is that when you win a swimming title, you are competing in the highest level athletic venue in collegiate sports. To win a team title is very special and different every time.” “All season we have trained real hard and it has always been our goal to win three in a row,” Demerae Christianson said on behalf of the senior class. “It just feels good to get the job done and to celebrate not with just the senior class, but the whole team. It is just so special. Hopefully we have left something behind for the team next year.” - By Dan Froehlich, Auburn Media Relations, and Susan Storey, Birmingham News
Kirsty Coventry took the 200 back title for the Tigers.
2010-11 Auburn Swimming & Diving Guide