“The opportunity to train and compete on the podium is a tremendous advantage for us,” Alabama Coach Dana Duckworth said. “This is what we’ll see at the SEC and NCAA Championships, so this helps prepare us for the postseason.”
The podium puts each of the four apparatus on a platform that is three feet off the ground. Not only does that setup put each routine in the spotlight, it also gives the equipment a little more bounce and more give. That different feel is why the practiced day is crucial, giving each team a chance to adjust to the equipment.
The Crimson Tide, ranked sixth this week, defeated No. 24 Missouri in Columbia Friday night, flew back to Tuscaloosa that night and then traveled to Birmingham on Saturday for podium training prior to Sunday’s meet.
“It’s definitely been a busy weekend, but we’ve been preparing for it for the past two weeks, anticipating everything we can to put us in the best position to be successful,” Duckworth said.
Junior Lauren Beers led the Tide against Missouri, winning the all-around and floor exercise and sharing top honors with senior Kaitlyn Clark on the balance beam. Clark won the uneven bars while Birmingham native Carley Sims won the vault.
Sunday marks the second time this season that Alabama and Auburn have faced off. The Tide won the first meeting on Feb. 6, 197.325-196.825 in Tuscaloosa.
Tickets to Sunday’s event are available at ElevateTheStage.com and at the door.