At a ceremony on the south lawn of the White House, Bush said, “In the year of swimming and diving, it was the year of War Eagle. Not only have these teams excelled in athletics, but they have excelled in academics and in the community.
“Of the thousands of people that competed at the NCAA level, very few have the opportunity to be crowned national champions.”
Auburn senior Kurt Cady shares a laugh with the president.
The men’s team won its fourth straight NCAA Championship in Atlanta while the women’s team won its fourth in the last five years a week earlier in Athens, Ga.
The Auburn swimmers presented Bush with an AU swim camp with the words “Mr. President” on it. They also gave him two Speedo swim suits and an Auburn jacket. First Lady Laura Bush was given an Auburn National Championship shirt.
“This year’s visit topped last year’s because the women were able to join the men’s team,” Auburn Coach David Marsh said.
"Adding to the experience was having the president walk into the room and saying, ‘you’re back again.’ It was very heartwarming. The team once again enjoyed the openness the president had with them. He spent a good amount of time appreciating the hard work that goes into swimming and diving.”
The men’s team was honored at the White House for the first time last July. That was the first appearance there by any AU sports team.
A pair of seniors, Jeri Moss from the women’s team and Kurt Cady from the men’s squad, presented the gifts on Thursday.
Jeri Moss (left) and Kurt Cady give President Bush with a Speedo swimsuit. Cady says winning a fourth national title was a perfect way to complete his senior season.
“It’s been amazing,” said Cady. “When the president walks into the room, he’s the president. But, when he walks up to talk to you, he’s so welcoming that you’re not even nervous. He acted like we were long-lost friends. It’s been an awesome trip. It is something that I’ll never forget.”
Cady’s teams never lost a competition in four seasons at Auburn.
Moss, whose women’s team upset Georgia to win the national title, said, “It was neat having the chance to meet the president and present him with a gift. He was very good humored about receiving a Speedo. The last few weeks have been amazing. There is no other way that I would want to end my Auburn career.”
The president shows the crowd his new Speedo swimsuit.
Moss and the other Auburn swimmers and divers went sight-seeing in the nation’s capital after their trip to the White House.
Other teams honored at the ceremony included the Florida men’s basketball team, the Maryland women’s basketball and field hockey teams, the Colorado men’s and women’s ski teams, the Maryland men’s soccer team, the Stanford women’s cross country team, Army’s rifle team, Wisconsin’s men’s cross country team and the University of Portland’s women’s soccer team.
Auburn swimmers exit the White House as they head for the ceremony on the south lawn.
The men's swimming team now has won a total of six NCAA titles giving Marsh, a former Auburn All-American swimmer, 10 national titles for his alma mater.
Both the men's and women's teams are expected to be strong again in in 2007. The men's squad has also won 10 consecutive Southeastern Conference titles and has won every competition it has been in since finishing as NCAA runnerup in 2002.
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