Swimming and Diving Opens New Year with Wins against Arkansas and Kentucky



Jan. 11, 2014

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama swimming and diving teams opened up the New Year with decisive wins over Southeastern Conference competition Saturday afternoon at the Alabama Aquatic Center. The Tide women beat Kentucky (152-110) and Arkansas (149-113) while the men downed the Wildcats (184-96).

"We've been a little up and down in terms of our consistency and we wanted to get back on track today and I think we did that," UA head coach Dennis Pursleysaid. "What I saw today was a team that was spirited, brought some fight to the meet, was excited about competing and performing up to the best of their abilities. It was a good day for us."

Four different Crimson Tide men picked up two or more individual victories on the day.  Anton McKeecontinued his consistent freshman campaign by winning the 100 breaststroke with a time of 55.42, the 200 breaststroke with a 2:00.17 and the 400 individual medley with a time of 3:59.58. Senior All-American BJ Hornikel took wins in the 100 and 200 freestyle, touching the wall with times of 45.40 and 1.39.86, respectively.

Sophomore distance ace Brian Westlake posted a time of 15:46.71 to win the 1650 freestyle and swam a 4:32.26 to win the 500 freestyle later in the meet. Sophomore Crews Wellfordearned a win in the 100 backstroke (49.73) and the 200 backstroke (1:49.66).

Newly arrived freshman Kristian Gkolomeev, who joined the Tide a little more than 48 hours prior to the meet, won his first collegiate event, the 50 yard freestyle with a time of 20.48. Freshman Connor Oslincontributed a victory in the 200 butterfly with a time of 1:49.80 while fellow rookie Brent Sagert won the 3-meter board with a score of 362.85.

The men also had a strong day when it came to the relays. In the meet-opening 200 medley relay, the team of Oslin, McKee, sophomore Brett Walsh and Hornikel picked up the win with a 1:29.62. To round out the day, the relay team of Gkolomeev, Walsh, senior Vlad Caciucand Hornikel dominated the field in the 200 freestyle relay, posting a time of 1:19.14 which was five and a half seconds faster than the second place team.

On the women's side of the meet, sophomore Emma Saunderstook home the top spot in two events, winning both the 100 and 200 freestyle races with times of 51.26 and 1:49.35, respectively. Junior Kaylin Burchellalso picked up a pair of individual wins in the 100 and 200 breaststrokes, turning in times of 1:01.70 and 2:14.53, respectivley.

Senior Stephanie Kinsey won the 100 backstroke, coming in with a time of 55.76 while junior Kristel Vournawon the 50 freestyle after posting a time of 23.38.

Like the men, the Tide women swept the relay races. Freshmen Caroline Korst, Bridget Blood, Leah Bird, and Bailey Scott won the 200 medley relay with a 1:41.04, while Vourna, sophomore Justine Panian, Kinsey and Scott combined to win the 200 freestyle relay with a 1:32.69.

Alabama closes out its home schedule on Jan. 25 at 11 a.m. against Emory.