Tide Swimming Shows Signs Of Success
"We took a significant step forward today," Alabama Coach Dennis Pursley said. "It was far and away our most competitive effort of the season. We saw a glimpse of what our training has suggested we're capable of and that's certainly exciting."
Saturday was also alumni day at the Alabama Aquatic Center with nearly a 100 former Crimson Tide swimmers and divers returning to The Capstone with their families. Among those in attendance was 1983 NCAA 200 Breaststroke champion Glenn Mills as well as Alabama and Olympic coaching legend Don Gambril.
With its past looking on, junior BJ Hornikel and freshman Brian Westlake led the men's team with a pair wins each. Hornikel won the 100 and 200 freestyles while Westlake won the 500 and 1,650 freestyles.
On the women's side of the meet, lone senior Jenna Gallo also won a pair of events, taking first in the 500 and 1,650 freestyles. Rookie Emma Saunders, who joined the Tide for the spring semester just a few days ago, won the 100 and 200 freestyles in her collegiate debut.
"I think Emma is still recovering from jet lag and making the transition to collegiate swimming," Pursley said. "But given the circumstances I think she got off to a good start and certainly helped us hang in the meet and gave us a real shot of winning."
Senior Anestis Arampatzis won the 200 butterfly while junior Vlad Caciuc took first in the 50 freestyle. Sophomore Kaylin Burchell won the women's 200 breaststroke and sophomore Lisa Bogosian won the 3-meter diving event .
"I told the team, we had more highlights today than we've seen all year, but two that stood out to me were Anestis' 200 butterfly and Kaylin's 200 breaststroke," Pursley said. "Both were just a case of mind over matter. Both of them have been out with some injuries and missed significant time in the water, but they just got up and put together two of the toughest swims I've seen in a long time."
The Alabama women opened the meet by winning the 200 medley relay. Junior Stephanie Kinsey, Burchell, freshman Justine Panian, and freshman Chandler Ryberg combined to post a time of 1:44.22 for the win. The Tide men closed out the meet with a win in the 200 freestyle relay, with freshman Brett Walsh, Caciuc, senior Reese Shirey and Hornikel combined for a time of 1:22.03.
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