Auburn Men Top Navy 175-125 in First-Ever Meeting Between Teams

Auburn vs. Navy (Men Only)

  • November 2nd, 2019
  • Lejeune Hall, Annapolis, Maryland
  • Meet Results (PDF)
  • Team Scores
    • Auburn men 175, Navy men 125 (score impacted by very minor Auburn exhibitions late in the meet)

The Auburn Tigers roared their way up the US Naval Academy on Saturday and came home with a confident 50-point victory over the Navy Midshipmen. This was the first-ever meeting between the two programs.

“I’m really proud and excited by the overall performance,” Auburn head coach Gary Taylor said after his team’s first road meet of the season. “Any time you go on the road and get a win, it’s a big deal. And certainly after last year, the opportunity for this team to fight hard, to finish and get a win, it’s obviously a positive outcome.”

Among the highlights for the Auburn men were 4 wins (2 individual, 2 relays) for senior Santiago Grassi. He first took the 50 free in 20.34, part of an Auburn 1-2-3, and later added a win in his specialty the 100 fly in 48.06, which was part of a 1-2-3-4 finish for Auburn. He was also part of the Auburn winning 200 medley relay (splitting a 20.69 on the fly leg that is big early-season form) and leading off the winning 400 free relay in 45.11 as Auburn touched in 2:59.62.

Auburn freshman Lleyton Smith also picked up his first collegiate win for the Tigers, winning a very-tight men’s 100 backstroke in 49.52. The 3 swimmers behind him (which included 2 Tigers and Navy’s Caleb Mauldin) were all 49.5 or 49.6. Smith has been 48.9 already this season, and is currently topping the Tigers in that event, though it’s a very deep group that includes returning senior David Crossland (46.3 last season) and Christian Ginieczki (who led off Auburn’s 200 medley relay on Saturday and was the fastest of the 3 there, though by only a tenth of a second). Auburn only had 1 scorer in the 100 back at last year’s SEC Championships, Crossland in 16th, so the development of those 3, training in a hyper-competitive group, will be crucial for Auburn to move up from their 8th-place finish at that meet.

“Just continued growth from the team,” Taylor said of the team’s opponents. “I told them before the meet that Navy would fight really hard. They would not roll over. And what I’m most proud of is our men came out on the road in a different environment and I thought performed really well. They got a lot of close wins and come away with a big victory and are 2-0.”

Navy, while over-matched on depth and breadth versus Auburn, did fight hard and picked up a few crucial victories. Among those was a breaststroke sweep for junior Dean Nguyen. He first won the 100 breaststroke in 55.28, beating out Auburn NCAA-qualifier Spencer Rowe (55.95), and later won the 200 as well in 2:00.98 (Rowe was 2nd in 2:02.68).

“Going into the meet,” said Navy men’s swimming head coach Bill Roberts, “we knew nothing would come easy today in any event, which proved to be the case. Though we were hoping to be a little more competitive in the final score, we walked out of Lejeune Hall today having gained a really valuable experience against a nationally ranked opponent. Certainly give a lot of credit to all competitors today as both teams showed a lot of fight from beginning to end.”

Nguyen’s were 2 of 6 event wins on the day for Navy, including Micah Oh in the 200 fly (1:49.39), part of a Navy 1-2 finish; Ryan Waters in the 500 free (4:30.52), and Ethan Tack in the 200 IM (1:51.01).

Press Releases

Courtesy: Auburn Athletics

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The No. 20 Auburn men’s swimming and diving team won two dual meets all of last season. Two meets into this season, they have already matched that total following Saturday’s 175-125 victory on the road at Navy.

“I’m really proud and excited by the overall performance,” Auburn head coach Gary Taylor said. “Any time you go on the road and get a win, it’s a big deal. And certainly after last year, the opportunity for this team to fight hard, to finish and get a win, it’s obviously a positive outcome.”

Competing on the road for the first time this season, Taylor challenged his squad to start fast and capitalize on the early energy and momentum in a new environment. The Tigers responded with first-place finishes in the first four events.

The relay team of Christian GinieczkiSpencer RoweSantiago Grassi and Jack Armstrong got it started with a win in the 200 medley relay. Next, sophomore Aryan Makhija cruised to victory in the 1,000 freestyle, winning the event for the second straight week. Christian Sztolcman and Thomas Heinzel followed with a 1-2 finish in the 200 freestyle, and then it was freshman Lleyton Smith earning his first collegiate win in the 100 backstroke.

It was another strong meet for Grassi, who won the 50 free and 100 butterfly and also contributed on winning relay teams in both the 200 medley relay and the 400 freestyle relay. He’s now finished first in all eight races he’s swam in this season.

Armstrong and fellow freshman Aidan Stoffle finished second and third behind Grassi in the 50 free, giving the Tigers a clean sweep in the event. Armstrong was also a part of both of Auburn’s winning relay teams while Stoffle finished second in the 200 backstroke.

In total, Auburn won nine of the 14 swimming events Saturday.

“Just continued growth from the team,” Taylor said. “I told them before the meet that Navy would fight really hard. They would not roll over. And what I’m most proud of is our men came out on the road in a different environment and I thought performed really well. They got a lot of close wins and come away with a big victory and are 2-0.”

DIVING RECAP

Sophomore Conner Pruitt beat his scores from a week ago with two new personal bests in both the 1-meter (372.53) and 3-meter (393.98) diving competitions. Pruitt won the 1-meter event and finished second in the 2-meter.

“He’s got a different level of focus and even a different level of confidence this year,” Taylor said. “I don’t think he’s ever lacked confidence, but he’s come in this year and just been an absolute hammer on the boards for us. He has a cool confidence to him, and you can really count on him to come out from one meet to the next and perform at a high level.”

Junior Logan Andrews also earned points for Auburn with a third-place finish in the 1-meter event and a fourth-place finish in the 3-meter event.

WHAT’S NEXT 

The Auburn men and women will both travel to Greensboro, North Carolina later this month to compete in the Wolfpack Invitational. The event begins on Thursday, Nov. 21 and runs through Saturday, Nov. 23.

The Tigers will be joined by North Carolina State, Arizona State, Wisconsin and Duke. Between the men’s and women’s sides, seven of the 10 teams are ranked in the CSCAA top 25.

Courtesy: Navy Athletics

ANNAPOLIS, Md. –– Dean Nguyen (Jr., Seattle, Wash.) won both breaststroke events for the Navy men’s swimming and diving team (5-2) during a 175-125 loss to No. 20 Auburn (2-0), Saturday at Lejeune Hall in Annapolis.

“Going into the meet,” said Navy men’s swimming head coach Bill Roberts, “we knew nothing would come easy today in any event, which proved to be the case. Though we were hoping to be a little more competitive in the final score, we walked out of Lejeune Hall today having gained a really valuable experience against a nationally ranked opponent. Certainly give a lot of credit to all competitors today as both teams showed a lot of fight from beginning to end.”

The Tigers began the meet by recording wins in the first four races of the day. Nguyen broke the streak with his effort of 55.28 in the 100 breaststroke. That gave him the victory by nearly seven-tenths of a second.

Nguyen’s teammate, Micah Oh (Jr., Kent, Ohio) followed by posting a win in the 200 butterfly. Oh recorded a time of 1:49.39 to win the race by 1.33 seconds over teammate Ethan Tack (So., Dix Hills, N.Y.).

Later in the meet, Nguyen tallied a time of 2:00.98 in the 200 breaststroke, an effort that gave him the victory by 1.7 seconds.

Just as earlier in the meet, Navy notched a win in the event immediately following Nguyen’s victory. This time, Ryan Waters (Jr., Basking Ridge, N.J.) would win the 500 freestyle with his time of 4:30.52. He won the event by more than a body length and by a time of 1.77 seconds.

The race of the day was event No. 13, the 200 individual medley, and featured Navy’s Tack edging Auburn’s Brogan Davis for the victory. Tack out-touched Davis by seven-hundredths of a second (1:51.01-1:51.08) to earn the win.

Completing the list of Navy event winners was Bradley Buchter (Sr., Hickory, N.C.) as he scored 401.18 points to win the three-meter diving board by 7.38 points over Auburn’s Conner Pruitt. Earlier in the meet, Pruitt scored 372.53 points on the one-meter board to ever-so-slightly better Butcher’s total of 372.30 points.

“I was really pleased with how our team never backed down,” said Roberts. “If you look at an event like the 200 individual medley, it was the final individual event of the meet and there were several great races within the event taking place across the pool between Auburn and Navy. As mentioned before, these are valuable experiences that we definitely help us improve.”

Both Navy teams will play host to American, Bucknell and Lafayette at noon on Saturday, Nov. 9.

 

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Michael Connellan

An excellent performance by Navy’s program! Given the rigorous academics and military demands, Navy’s times as a mid-major program are extraordinarily good reflecting talent, superb coaching and a fine facility.

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