The Auburn men's swimming and diving program captured its eighth national championship in program history and gave head coach Richard Quick his record 13th national title in the sport, including his first at Auburn, Saturday at the Texas A&M Student Recreation Natatorium.
Auburn finished the meet with 526 points, 39 ahead of second place Texas. The Tigers entered the Saturday's finals session six points behind the Longhorns, however a strong preliminary swim earlier in the day gave Auburn the upper hand entering the finals.
Quick, who is the first coach to win a national title at three schools, is battling an inoperable brain tumor that was diagnosed in December 2008. Quick was not in College Station for the championships, as the Tigers were directed by assistant Brett Hawke who has led the program since Quick's diagnosis.
"This is just a great way to finish the meet," Hawke said. "It's a great tribute to Richard Quick and what he means to this program. It's a huge win for this program and was a total team effort. There's not one person that stood out amongst us. We knew if we came out and won most of the relays, we would win the title. We won four out of five (relays) and that was our goal."
Over the course of his 31 year coaching career, Quick won seven national titles at Stanford and five at Texas to accompany his first at Auburn.
"We're extremely proud of our men's swimming and diving program and their accomplishments in bringing home another national championship to Auburn," Auburn Athletics Director Jay Jacobs said. "Richard Quick's accomplishments speak for themselves, and to win 13 national titles at three schools is truly remarkable. While he was not able to be on deck, I know that the coaching staff and student-athletes felt his presence this week and dedicated their efforts to him. We're very proud of Brett, the staff and team for their ability to overcome difficult circumstances this season and win a championship."
Auburn, which won five consecutive titles from 2003-07, have now won six national championships in the last seven years. The eight titles are tied for fifth most all-time with Stanford behind Michigan (11), Ohio State (11), Southern California (9) and Texas (9).
"I am really glad I came home (after Olympics). It was a memorable senior year," said senior Matt Targett. "This year was a total team effort. Last year we had a few superstars, this year we have an entire team of stars. Richard Quick was a massive part of what we accomplished. He isn't here, but we did this for him, more than for ourselves. We wanted to win his first men's championship for him."
Trailing Texas by as many as 62 points during the meet, took the lead for good three-events into Saturday's finals following sophomore Adam Klein's school-record setting performance in the 200 breast, where he finished fourth. Auburn grabbed a one point advantage after the event and never looked back.
"To win a National Championship is an incredible feeling that I can't begin to describe," said Logan Madson. "To start at Auburn as a champion and finish my career as a champion is incredible. That is exactly why I came to Auburn. I have a strong feeling of relief and happiness that we accomplished what we did.
"It has been an emotional time with Richard's situation. We all wanted to fight harder because of him and that's what we talked about this morning. We wanted to race for him, feel pain for him because what he is going through is so difficult."
Saturday's finals began with the AU backstrokers, who continued their dominant display, putting the Tigers seven points back of the Longhorns with a 44-point effort. Junior Pascal Wollach led the way for Auburn, hitting the wall in 1:39.65 for a fourth-place finish worth 15 points. Sophomores Kohlton Norys (1:40.60) and Jared White (1:43.35) placed 7th and 8th, respectively. Freshman Max Murphy placed 11th with a 1:41.70.
Auburn and Texas picked up 36 points in the 100 free, leaving the seven-point Auburn deficit. Both sides entered two into A finals and one in consolation for the 100 free. Senior Matt Targett led the Tigers with a 41.64 to take third followed by junior Gideon Louw in eighth, hitting the wall in 42.37. Senior Jakob Andkjaer won the consolation final, touching in at 42.18.
Klein set a new Auburn record in the 200 breast finals, touching in at 1:53.44.
The Tigers earned 36 points in the 200 fly and extended their lead to 473-436, behind senior Logan Madson (1:41.70) who finished third. Junior Tyler McGill (1:42.44) followed in fifth while sophomore Robert Looney (1:42.76) hit a new personal-best time to place 11th..
Auburn did not advance any divers to platform finals, however the Tigers did enter Dan Mazzaferro (431.65) and Kelly Marx (414.65) into the consolations. The pair placed 10th and 11th overall to offset Texas diver Drew Livingston, who placed 2nd.
Auburn capped the championship, winning the 400 free relay behind the foursome of Jakob Andkjaer, Matt Targett, Kohlton Norys, and Tyler McGill, who turned in a time of 2:46.67.