Alabama To Swim Against FSU

Who among Alabama fans doesn't know that it is important to finish the season well? And what Bama fan wouldn't relish a competition against the FSU Seminoles? Those things are on the mind of the head coach of the Crimson Tide swimming and diving team.

The Alabama swimming and diving team of second year Coach Dennis Pursley opened the season in dominating fashion three weeks ago in its traditional opener at Delta State. Both the Crimson Tide men and Bama women were convincing winners.

Now the Tide has its home opener Saturday morning in the Alabama Aquatics Center/Don Gambril Pool. Bama will face off against ACC powerhouses Florida State in men's and women's compeition beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday. There is no admission charge.

"Relative to the time in the season we had a very good start at Delta State." UA Coach Dennis Pursley said. "Some of the swimmers started the season where they finished off in championship form last year. If we can progress from there it will be a fun season."

The Tide will face a greater challenge against Florida State this weekend, especially from the men's side.

"The FSU men are one of the stronger teams in the country," Pursley said. "On paper we're not there yet, but again, with home pool advantage we have a chance. You take it one event at a time. We're going to go into the meet with a plan to win the meet. We'll have to swim at our absolute best in every event."

Alabama's men will be led by senior BJ Hornikel, who started the season off with a win in the 100 freestyle and as part of the 400 freestyle relay and the 200 medley relay. Rookies Anton Mckee and Connor Oslin also started off strong, picking up wins at DSU in their first meet wearing the crimson and white of Alabama.

On the women's side of the roster, Alabama broke three individual pool records against Delta State. Freshman Bonnie Macdonald broke the 1,000 freestyle record with a time of 10:05.39 in her very first swim for the Tide. Sophomore Emma Saunders broke the 200 freestyle pool mark with a time of 1:49.89 while junior Kaylin Burchell broke the 100 breaststroke record with a time of 1:02.90.

"On the women's side, it looks, on paper, pretty much like an even meet," Pursley said. "It will be an exciting meet, the kind that's fun to participate in, fun to watch. We'll give it everything we got."

As a whole, Pursley is pleased with the progress the Tide has made to this point in the season.

"I'm really impressed with all of our training groups," Pursley said. "What I see in the training pool right now compared to this time last year in every single one of our groups is a whole other level. It provides for a very competitive environment for each one of the training groups."

Last season the Florida State men placed 23rd at the NCAA Championships while the woman placed 31st. This will be the third meet this season for the Seminoles.

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