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Plainslinks is disappointed in excellence

Auburn's 400 medley relay team of Adam Brown, Adam Klein, Tyler McGill, and Pascal Wollach celebrate their win at February's SEC championships by singing the Auburn fight song, 'cause they're awesome like that. They were also awesome enough to place second at last week's nationals.

Being incredible is not enough. So as you’ve probably read by now, the defending national champion Auburn men’s swim team finished sixth at last week’s national championships. After winning six of the last seven national titles I know it’s a bit disappointing, but geez, you really can’t win ’em all and the Tigers still kept alive their streak of finishing in the top 10 every year since 1993 and there’s the little matter of the 14th straight SEC title they won not too long ago. Head coach Brett Hawke, you can’t be that unhappy, can you?

“Our finish in this meet really summarized the whole season for us,” head coach Brett Hawke said. “It was a tough year, but we’re going to take a break and then regroup. We know that we’re a good team and we’ll come back stronger next year.”

Oh. I guess you can be … especially looking at your quotes from the Day 2 results and Day 3 prelims.

Why is Auburn swimming what Auburn swimming is? Because SEC titles and sixth-place finishes–which, it’s worth pointing out, would be cause for sainthood of the coaches in most other Auburn sports–aren’t cause for any kind of celebration. It’s true national excellence, or nothin’, and that’s why it’s plenty likely Auburn’s back to the top of the heap sooner rather than later.

(At least, that’s what I’m thinking as a guy who doesn’t really know much about the sport. Will be interesting to see what Hawke puts together next go-round.)

Elsewhere. Busy weekend for Auburn sports across the board:

— The baseball team, in other news I’m not exactly delivering fresh, rallied after losing the first two games of the series to take one of three from No. 19 (0r 14)  South Carolina, snapping the ‘Cocks’ 13-game winning streak. PPL’s Kevin has “mixed emotions” about the series, which makes sense: yes, SC came in hot, but the series was at home and taking two of three would have kept Auburn on top of the brutal SEC West. Kevin’s dubbing this weekend’s series in Tuscaloosa “sink or swim” for the Tigers’ chances for Hoover; it’s a biggie.

— The No. 16 gymnastics team will be seeded third in a deep Salt Lake City regional after finishing a promising fifth at the recent SEC championships. Advancing out of the regional would mean upsetting tenth-ranked hosts Utah, but the Tigers did just beat out No. 8 Arkansas at the SEC meet, so there’s hope.

— Equestrian: still rocks. Auburn will go to nationals April 15-17 as one of the favorites to win the title.

Krootin’. The weekend’s big news on the recruiting front: Gadsden City’s Anthony Swain accepted an offer and became Auburn’s third commitment for the class of 2011. Swain’s a safety, but a big one: 6-3, 215. He hasn’t drawn a ton of recruiting hype just yet but already has offers from Tennessee and Kentucky (and maybe ‘Bama and Clemson, according to Scout), and if he hadn’t been hella impressive at Auburn’s Junior Day you know Chizik and Co. wouldn’t have pulled the trigger this early. Swain should prove to be one of the best defensive backs in the state this year, and when was the last time Auburn got anyone out of Gadsden? Nothing but positives here.

In other news, big Spanish Fort center (and Spencer Region buddy) Reese Dismukes should decide between Auburn and Alabama soon. Adding Dismukes to Region would be a second big in-state coup, both coming on the offensive line; fingers crossed. Auburn still leads for Demetrius Hart, with Alabama and Michigan the other schools in his top three. And speaking of Region, he’s been named to the Under Armour All-American game roster.

A useful new (free) site for some recruiting scoop (amongst other things) is the straightforwardly-titled Auburn Sports Blog, written by former Rivals beat man Bryan Matthews. Recent goodies include Dismukes quotes, a Swain interview, and a “nuggets” post full of goodies. Apparently it’s only goign to last long enough for Matthews to get a new site set up, but enjoy it while you can.

It’s Bliss. It’s a little, ahem, aged by now, but I’d still recommend giving a listen to my friends at Oh Brother Radio‘s podcast with Kody Bliss on the wonders of the Wonderlic. I’d always assumed the Wonderlic was basically a basic do-you-know-this IQ test; that it was pressure-packed and administered in a SURPRISE! fashion is news to me. Keep an eye on Oh Brother this week for an interview with Pat Sullivan, too; I think it’s due Thursday.

Etc. Chris Low talks with Trooper Taylor … Tony Barbee tells Auburn students they’ll have seating on three sides of the floor. I’m telling you, the Auburn Arena is going to scare the hell out of opponents if–when–Barbee can put a quality team inside it.

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