Press Release courtesy of Auburn Athletics
For senior Caroline Baddock and junior Erin Falconer, their journeys to captaincy of Auburn’s women’s swimming and diving teams could not be any more contrasting.
Baddock hails from Auckland, New Zealand, and she had never been to Auburn – or anywhere else in the United States – before committing to Auburn’s program. In fact, on her way to Auburn as a freshman, her first stop in the States was Los Angeles, creating some nerves about where she was going. Not until her plane landed in Atlanta and she and her family were driving down I-85 towards Auburn’s campus did she feel comfortable with where she would be spending the next four years of her life. Seeing trees can do that to a person.
“I’d heard of Auburn, I knew it was in Alabama and I knew it was the Auburn Tigers and that was the extent of my knowledge,” Baddock said. “I’d never watched NCAA sports to I came in pretty naïve.”
Falconer, from Mundelein, Ill., had a heart already touched by Auburn, having had siblings attend Auburn Swimming Camps. In those experiences, she was able to see, learn, and ingest what it takes to be an Auburn swimmer and better yet, what it takes to lead an Auburn swimming team.
“Auburn was a dream school for me,” Falconer said. “I knew how great it was to swim at Auburn and what it meant in the swimming world. Growing up I would tell my friends that I was going to swim at Auburn.”
Not only has Falconer realized her dream of swimming for Auburn, but now she joins a very distinguished list of women who have captained the team.
“Being captain is a big honor,” Falconer said. “What we represent is pretty amazing; our team, our coaches and all the alumni that have gone through the program. To me that is one of the highest honors I have ever had and I don’t take it for granted.”
For the captains, measuring success this year will not only be determined by a place in the final standings but also the bond that is created on a team with a heavy influx of freshman to go along with a veteran roster.
“Moving up places at SECs and NCAAs – physical success that you can see – is important but I think creating a team that is united and bonded is also a success,” Baddock said. “We don’t swim for ourselves, we swim for each other and we swim for Auburn. Success for us would be to really cement that.”
Last year was a rebuilding year for Auburn, which improved 15 spots at the NCAA Championships, and laid a foundation for another layer of progression this year.
“There has been such a change in mindset from everyone on the team,” Baddock said. “There has been a change in attitudes, in training and competiveness among the girls. When you come to the pool you come to work hard.”
QUOTING BRETT HAWKE
On Saturday’s dual meet against Texas A&M…
“The A&M women are one of the top teams in the country and we have our work cut out for us. But I said to our team that they swam so well in the first dual meet that I know they are going to get better and keep improving, and that’s exciting. It’s definitely going to be a battle.
“The A&M men are a rising team that are doing some great things as well. It’s going to be another interesting competition just to see how much we have improved in one week.”
On gauging improvement…
“We don’t necessarily look at a time improvement. Obviously that is a factor in our sport, but we look at the way the team is progressing as well. How are we connecting as a team, how are we supporting, how are we getting the best out of each other. And then individuals just making adjustments to some of the things we should be doing better, like our underwater kicking or our back-end speed, how are we finishing races. There are technical things we can look at but at this point in the season we’re really looking at how does the team respond to pressure, how do they find a way to win the close races.”
NATIONAL RANKINGS – TEAM
Auburn comes into the meet ranked in both the men’s and women’s polls. Auburn’s men are ranked No. 10 by the CSCAA while the women are No. 15. Texas A&M is ranked No. 15 on the men’s side and No. 5 in the women’s poll.
NATIONAL RANKINGS – INDIVIDUALS
Auburn men in the Top 25 nationally
- Zach Apple –20.21
- Peter Holoda –20.23
t4. Zach Apple – 44.13
- Peter Holoda – 44.16
- Brody Heck – 44.80
- Zach Apple – 1:38.24
t22. Owen Upchurch – 1:38.81
- Russell Noletto – 4:31.33
- Hugo Gonzalez – 47.45
- Hugo Gonzalez – 1:45.53
- Petter Fredriksson – 1:47.93
- Tommy Brewer – 55.57
- Spencer Rowe – 2:01.79
- Tommy Brewer – 2:01.86
- Luis Martinez – 47.22
- Santiago Grassi – 48.43
- Hugo Gonzalez – 1:47.15 – 1st
- Hugo Gonzalez – 3:47.78
Auburn women in the Top 25 nationally
- Ashton Ellzey – 22.92
t17. Julie Meynen – 23.11
- Julie Meynen – 49.46
- Aly Tetzloff – 50.17
- Ashton Ellzey – 50.37
- Zoe Thatcher – 10:00.90
- Aly Tetzloff – 53.58
- Breanna Roman – 1:02.60
t19. Carly Cummings – 2:16.58
- Bailey Nero – 54.40
- Aly Tetzloff – 2:00.24
- Carly Cummings – 2:02.17
- Zoe Thatcher – 4:20.89
- Carly Cummings – 4:21.15
FOLLOWING THE MEET LIVE
Live Stats – http://www.auburntigers.com/livestats/c-swim/
Live Diving – www.divemeets.com
Saturday’s meet begins at 1 p.m., with diving kicking off at noon. The meet can be watched live on SECN+.