March 29, 2009
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Senior captain Alex Righi completed his collegiate career on Saturday evening with a strong fourth-place finish in the 100-yard freestyle at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships hosted by Texas A&M at the Student Recreation Center Natatorium in College Station, Texas. The fourth-place finish is the highest of the 2009 Championships for Righi, who placed fifth in the 50-yard freestyle and 12th in the 100-yard backstroke event. Righi's performances over the weekend earned the Bulldogs 34 points, good enough to tie the team for 21st place at the meet.
The 100-yard freestyle is one of Righi's best events and he certainly showed his strength in the event during Saturday's races. Righi was seeded third going into the event with the school record time of 41.91 that he set at the Ivy League Swimming and Diving Championships on Mar. 7. Righi, however, was ready to show that he was determined to reset the record books in the preliminary round of competition at the Championships, swimming to a school record time of 41.71 seconds, shaving .20 seconds off the old record. Righi's performance also improves upon his own Ivy League record. The performance in the preliminary round earned Righi the second seed going into the final round. The fastest swimmer in the preliminaries was Auburn's Matt Targett, who finished in a time of 41.68, only .03 ahead of Righi.
With an incredibly deep field assembled at the Championships, it was certain that the finals would be a fast race. Righi, who placed second in the event at the Championships one year ago, knew that the race in the finals would be the last of his collegiate career. In the finals, Righi was third after the first 50 yards, but was passed in the next 25 yards of the race. Righi ended the race in fourth with a time of 41.84, earning the Bulldogs 15 points. The race was won by Cal's Nathan Adrian in a new American record time of 41.08. Adrian was an Olympic Gold medalist in the 4x100-meter relay and won the 50-yard freestyle at the Championships on Thursday evening.
Coverage of the meet will be broadcast on ESPN2 on April 1 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern time. A complete recap, including reactions from Righi about his astounding accomplishments, will be available shortly.
Report filed by Caleb Dorfman '09, Yale Sports Publicity