Feb. 15, 2012
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -
The Alabama swimming and diving teams got off to a fast start at the Southeastern Conference Championships being held at the Allan Jones Aquatic Center on the University of Tennessee campus this week.
"Every swim we've had so far has been a lifetime best," UA head coach Eric McIlquham said. "Put that together with a school record on day one and we're definitely ready to go. We just need to come in tomorrow morning and get after it from start to finish."
The Crimson Tide women earned a new school record in the 200 medley relay. Sophomore Stephanie Kinsey, freshman Kaylin Burchell along with sophomore Kristel Vourna and Alex Popa combined to post a 1:38.68, bettering the old mark, set in 2009, by more than half a second. Burchell posted the second fastest breaststroke split of the night and Alabama took fifth overall.
"Any time you can break a school record it's a very good thing," McIlquham said. "It was an awesome swim, with everyone looking sharp right out of the gate."
Earlier in the night sophomore diver Paige McCleary scored a 301.35 to take seventh place in the championship final of the 1-meter board. It marked the second year in a row that McCleary, the 2011 SEC Female Diver of the Year, has finished in the top eight off the 1-meter.
"Paige did a great job off the 1-meter again this year," McIlquham said. "She closed out her list strong to get into finals and then to move up to seventh in finals."
Sophomore Anna Rae Gwarjanski, senior Suzanne Schwee, junior Jenna Gallo and senior Shelby Hixon posted a 7:26.53 to take ninth in the 800 freestyle relay. Gwarjanski led the relay off in a time of 1:48.66, which ranks her fourth all-time for the Tide in the 200 freestyle.
Junior Reese Shirey along with sophomores Devan Terry, Alex Coci and Vlad Caciuc took seventh in the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:28.25. Alabama's 800 freestyle relay's fourth place finish was wiped out by disqualification after a bad exchange.
Freshman diver Jordan Lesser led the Tide men off the 3-meter board, scoring 318.90 points to take 17th place, one spot out of scoring team points.
Alabama returns to action Thursday with a full slate of events, starting with the prelims of the 500 freestyle at 10 a.m. EST.