Auburn Opens 2016-17 Season With Road Win Over Wisconsin


  • Results
  • Hosted by University of Wisconsin
  • Saturday, October 8th
  • 25 yards
  • Dual meet format


  • Men: Auburn- 156, Wisconsin- 144

  • Women: Auburn- 165, Wisconsin- 135

The Auburn men and women opened the 2016-17 season with a victory on the road, as the Tigers were victorious over the Wisconsin Badgers in Madison on Saturday.

On the women’s side, Auburn senior Ashley Neidigh swept the distance races in a pair of battles against Cierra Runge, who made her debut for the Badgers at this meet after transferring from Cal. First, Neidigh had a strong showing in the 1000 free, taking the win in 9:50.08 to Runge’s 9:56.04.

Both swimmers returned to the pool for the 500 free, where they were neck-and-neck to the finish. Neidigh took the win by just a tenth that time, holding off a final-50 surge from Runge (4:50.39) to hit the wall in 4:50.29.

Senior Natasha Lloyd also picked up double wins for the Tigers, sweeping the breaststroke races. In the 100 breast, Lloyd made a move on the back half to overtake Wisconsin’s Maria Carlson (1:03.17) at the finish, winning in 1:02.86. Lloyd and Carlson went 1-2 again in the 200 breast, with Lloyd winning in 2:15.57 to Carlson’s 2:17.21.

All-American senior Chase Kinney showed off her speed for the Badgers in the 50 free today, clocking the only sub-23 time to win it in 22.92. The Badgers’ freshman talent was also on display, as newcomer Beata Nelson took her first dual meet victory with her 54.40 in the 100 back.

On the men’s side, the team battle was decided by just 12 points. Wisconsin swept the individual free reaces, but the Tigers were able to sweep all of the stroke events. Joe Patching was arguably the MVP for the Tigers today, as he was the only triple event winner of the meet.

Patching posted a 48.68 to win his first race in the 100 back, leading a 1-2 punch from Auburn as teammate Kyle Darmody (49.66) finished 2nd. In the 200 back, he clocked a 1:46.44 to finish ahead of a trio of Badgers, who were led by Brett Pinfold‘s 1:47.96. Patching closed the meet with a victory in the 400 IM, where he was the only swimmer under 4:00, winning in 3:53.05.

Wisconsin’s Cannon Clifton and Auburn’s Peter Holoda battled in the sprint free races, with Clifton landing double wins for the Badgers. Clifton first put up a 20.12 to outswim Holoda (20.31) in the 50 free. He followed that up with a 44.56 in the 100 free to Holoda’s 45.11.


Joe Patching won three individual events for the men and Natasha Lloyd and Ashley Neidigheach won two for the women as both of Auburn’s swimming and diving teams opened the 2016-17 season with dual meet wins at Wisconsin. The Auburn men won a total of nine events and won the meet 156-144 while the women won 10 events in winning 165-135.

“The first meet of the season is always a challenge,” Auburn head coach Brett Hawke said. “Combine that with traveling to a hostile environment and swimming a good team like Wisconsin, it was a true test. The team stepped up to the challenge and thrived off of our togetherness. Winning the first relay (men’s 200 medley relay – 1:28.49) and nearly breaking the pool record was a perfect testament to the team mentality that has developed the past seven weeks.”

Patching won the 100 back (48.68), the 200 back (1:46.44) and the 400 IM 3:53.05) and was also on the winning 200 medley relay team (1:28.49).

“The men came into the meet coming off of seven weeks of hard training,” assistant coach Kirk Grand said. “During that training the focus has been on working hard and becoming the best team we can be. Today, that showed against Wisconsin.”

Luis Martinez, an Olympian for Guatemala in Rio this past summer, swept the butterfly events, winning the 100 in 47.89 and the 200 in 1:48.05. He too was on the winning 200 medley relay team.

Auburn’s men also swept the breaststroke events with Michael Duderstadt winning the 100 (55.69) and Tommy Brewer winning the 200 (2:04.57).

Pete Turnham also was an individual event winner, winning the 1-meter springboard with a zone qualifying score of 334.05

For the women it was a continuation of what was a great junior season last year for Lloyd, who swept the breaststroke events in 1:02.86 and 2:15.57 respectively.

“We had six girls who swam three different individual races and seven different girls took nine individual wins,” Associate Head Coach Lauren Hancock said. “It truly was a team effort from start to finish, and our 1-2-3-4 finish in the 400 IM and victory in the 400 free relay left us with smiles and confidence heading into Wednesday’s meet against Kentucky.”

Neidigh, also a senior, won the 500 free (4:50.29) and the 1000 free (9:50.08) and was third in Auburn’s domination of the 400 IM (4:21.53).

Other event winners for the women included Jessica Merritt in the 200 free (1:48.92), Bailey Neroin the 200 fly (2:00.84), Julie Meynen in the 100 free (50.05), Aly Tetzloff in the 100 fly (54.13) andZoe Thatcher in the 400 IM (4:20.48).

“We knew, based on recent work, that we could leave Wisconsin with a win, but it was more than recent work that allowed us to win by the margin we did today,” Hancock said. “We demonstrated belief and unity and we swam with a real sense of desire and showed depth in every women’s event.”

Auburn returns home for its next dual meet, hosting Kentucky at noon on Wednesday, Oct. 12, at the James E. Martin Aquatics Center. Admission to the meet is free.



MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin swimming and diving program made some statements in its season-opening meet — with with the men dominating the freestyle events, the women receiving strong performances from a pair of newcomers and divers shining on both sides — but it was Auburn that left the UW Natatorium victorious on Saturday.

The Tigers edged the UW men’s team, 156-144, and downed the Badgers women, 165-135.

“It was great having them (Auburn) on campus,” UW head coach Whitney Hite said. “They are a traditional powerhouse and any time we can get them here, it’s a good thing.

“This is a process. We always want to be faster but we also know that the key is February, March, the championship season. So this is the start for us, this is the start of the season, this isn’t the end.

“We can be better, we will be better.”

Four Badgers combined to sweep the freestyle events for the UW men.

Senior Matt Hutchins and junior Victor Goicoechea led the charge in the distance events, while seniors Cannon Clifton and Brett Pinfold starred in the sprints.

Pinfold and Clifton combined to sweep the shorter sprint events, with Clifton breaking his own pool record in the 50-yard freestyle in 20.12 seconds to earn a NCAA “B’ cut and then claiming victory in the 100 free in 44.56. Pinfold took the 200 freestyle title in 1 minute, 38.10 seconds.

In the 1000-yard freestyle, Goicoechea made a statement in his first race as a Badger, winning in 9 minutes, 17.86 seconds. Hutchins was right behind him to finish second in 9:22.51. Later, the roles were reversed as Hutchins went on to win 500 free in 4:27.65 while Goicoechea was runner-up in 4:37.12.

The UW men also won the final event of the afternoon in dramatic fashion, claiming the 400 freestyle relay in a pool-record time of 2:57.93.

Clifton led UW to a solid start by posting a split of 44.22 that had the Badgers out front early, but Auburn crept back into the lead during the second leg. It was Olympian Matt Hutchins that drew the Badgers back on the third leg.

“I was out a bit faster and think that was the key,” Clifton said. “I still need to control that first 50 because I know the guy next to me was going out pretty hard so I think that just pushing off the wall and pounding under water was the key.”

Pinfold was clutch as the anchor for the Badgers while Auburn’s Zachary Apple fought to keep the Tigers out front in a race that was neck and neck down the stretch.

With yards to go, Pinfold overtook Apple and out-touched him by just over a half-second with a split of 43.75 that was the fastest of any swimmer in the field, clinching victory for his teammates Clifton, Ryan Stack and Hutchins.

The UW women’s team was led by freshman Beata Nelson, who in her first individual collegiate race snatched victory in the 100-yard backstroke in 54.40 to earn a NCAA ‘B’ cut standard.

“It feels really good (to get the standard),” Nelson said. “We’ve done a lot of hard training, so to kind of get that out of the way and just get the blood moving and be in the Nat and feel comfortable, it’s a good feeling.”

In her first-ever swim as a Badger, Nelson led off UW’s entry in the 200 medley relay team and helped teammates Marissa Berg, Dana Grindall and Chase Kinney to a first-place finish in 1:41.44.

Also premiering for the Badgers was Olympic gold medalist Cierra Runge, who earned a pair of runner-up finishes in the 1000 free (9:56.04) and 500 free (4:50.39).

“It was really fun,” said Runge, who last competed collegiately for Cal in 2014-15, of her Badgers debut. “I was excited to kind of get in and have a team and do the whole dual meets again, so I really enjoyed myself.”

Also earning wins for the women were Kinney, who won the 50 free with an NCAA ‘B’ cut of 22.92, and sophomore Jess Unicomb, who claimed victory in the 200 back in 1:59.81.

Wisconsin was strong on the boards, as well, with four divers posting automatic qualifying marks for NCAA zone competition.

Senior Ashley Peterson led the way for the women, sweeping the 1-meter (306.67 points) and 3-meter (291.45) events. Sophomore Hazel Hertting finished as runner-up in the 1-meter, posting a score of 280.05 that completed a 1-2 sweep for Wisconsin.

On the men’s side, freshman Kevin Pomeroy won the 3-meter in dominating fashion, scoring 336.30 points. Sophomore Andrew Pearce also collected the ‘A’ qualifying standard on the 1-meter board, taking third with 321.52 points.

The Badgers are at it again next week as they travel to take on rival Minnesota in the Border Battle on Oct. 13. The meet, which will stream live via BTN Plus, is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.



In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

1 Comment
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
6 years ago


About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

Read More »