Monday, March 27, 2006
Sullivan earns All-America honors
|Chris Sullivan earned All-America honors in the 100-yard butterfly and 100-yard freestyle events, setting school records in both.|
Senior Chris Sullivan (Rockford, Mich.) earned All-America honors in the 100-yard butterfly and 100-yard freestyle events, setting school records in both, at the NCAA Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships in Atlanta, Ga. His performance alone put Oakland in the top 25 rankings in team totals, as he single-handedly earned 22 points for the Golden Grizzlies to place 25th overall.
In the 100-yard butterfly, Sullivan placed eighth in the finals with a time of 47.04. Lyndon Ferns of Arizona won the event with a time of 45.89. Both Sullivan’s time in the finals and preliminaries March 24 bettered his previous school record time of 47.90. In the preliminaries, he finished with a time of 46.76, a new school record, and won his heat by more than 1.2 seconds.
"Chris' swim was one of the brightest moments in OU swimming history,” head coach Pete Hovland said. “It ranks up there with Mark Vandermey's DI accomplishment in the 1980s. To drop the amount of time, 1.5 seconds, in a meet like this where only around 5 percent of the swimmers swim faster is a great accomplishment. In OU's short DI history this is by far the shining moment, and we will build on this great event.”
Sullivan continued to shine March 25 by repeating his All-America status with an eighth-place finish in the 100-yard freestyle event with a time of 42.94. Garrett Weber-Gale of Texas won the 100 free championships with a time of 42.11. In the preliminaries, Sullivan’s time was 42.91 to set a new school record, bettering his own time of 43.27 set in 2003.
|Sullivan's performance alone put Oakland in the top 25 rankings in team totals, as he single-handedly earned 22 points for the Golden Grizzlies to place 25th overall at the NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships.|
The accomplishments of swimming times under 43 seconds in the 100 freestyle and under 47 seconds in the 100 butterfly are like what breaking the four-minute mile used to be, Hovland said.
“It was such a perfect ending to his career,” Hovland said. “To be able to compete at this level, final in two events, go against the fastest swimmers in the world and end up the way he did, it’s hard to put in words. All those hours, early mornings, lifting weights, for it all to come together like this, it’s all very gratifying. We’re so excited we’re floating on a cloud right now.”
Sullivan also swam in one of eight preliminary heats for the 50-yard freestyle event on March 23, posting a time of 19.74, five one-hundredths of a second faster than his qualifying time, to finish in a tie for 21st. He finished five places out of the top 16 competitors, who went on to the finals. The 16th fastest time of the event, which Sullivan would have needed to better to qualify for competition in the finals, was 19.62.
For more information on OU’s swimming and diving teams, visit the OU Athletics Web site.