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Fierro Breaks School Record in 500 Free at Winter National Championships

Fierro Breaks School Record in 500 Free at Winter National Championships

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Cal Poly swimmer Sonny Fierro set a school record Thursday morning in the men's 500-yard freestyle at the AT&T Winter National Championships at Tennessee's Allan Jones Aquatic Center.

The sophomore was the 10th qualifier in the prelims, finishing in 4 minutes, 21.32 seconds.

Fierro's time eclipsed the old all-time program record of 4:27.65, which was set four seasons ago by Matthew Waggoner. It also met the provisional-qualifying cutoff for the NCAA Championships. Michigan senior Connor Jaeger — who was sixth in the 1,500-meter free at the 2012 Olympics — touched the wall first Thursday morning, at 4:15.10.

After advancing to the B final, Fierro finished 15th overall, in 4:23.55. Ryan Feeley, one of the nearly 40 U.S. National Team members at the meet, won the B final with a ninth-place swim of 4:19.15.

Also in the morning's prelims, Cal Poly's Paolo Stanchi was 32nd in the 200-yard individual medley, in 1:51.15. The junior is also entered in three more events. The 400 IM, Stanchi's highest-seeded race of the remaining trio (he's No. 15), is tentatively scheduled for a 9:56 a.m. (local time) start Friday.

Two Mustangs competed in the 50 free prelims Thursday: freshman Caleb Davies was 37th, in 20.39 seconds (identical to his seed time), and junior teammate Mackey Hopen was 66th at 21.25.

Three other Cal Poly swimmers are also scheduled to compete at the 36-event meet, which will continue Friday and Saturday. Prelims will again start at 9 a.m. each day, followed by 5 p.m. finals.

Five American record-holders in various events in the short-course yards format came into the championships as top seeds in those respective races.

A live webcast of the competition is available at USASwimming.org. An hour-long replay of the meet will be televised on NBC at 2 p.m. PST Dec. 21.