Feb. 19, 2014
ATHENS, Ga. -
The Alabama swimming and diving teams continued their record breaking ways on day two of the Southeastern Conference being held this week in Gabrielsen Natatorium on the University of Georgia campus, breaking four more school records for a total of seven new marks in just over 24 hours.
"It was another good day for us," UA head coach Dennis Pursley said. "We're definitely on a roll. This is the deepest and toughest conference in the country and it's a big boost for us to be slugging it out stroke for stroke with these guys. We're looking forward to the next three days and keeping it rolling."
In only his fifth 50 freestyle race since joining Alabama in January, freshman Kristian Gkolomeev broke the school record with a 19.23 shaving nine-hundredths of a second off the previous mark set by Apostolis Tsagkarakis in 2007. On the women's side of the meet, junior Kristel Vourna clocked a 22.66 in the 50 freestyle to take 21st place, breaking the previous school mark set by Arlene Semeco in 2005 in the process.
Alabama then closed out the night with school records in both 200 freestyle relays. The women's crew of Vourna, freshman Bailey Scott, sophomore Justine Panian and senior Stephanie Kinsey combined to post a 1:29.96, taking sixth place and shaving nearly a second off the previous school mark set in 2007.
The Tide men then put an exclamation point on the night, taking second place in the 200 freestyle relay with a 1:16.26, destroying the old mark, set in 2006, by more than two and a half seconds. Gkolomeev led off with a 19.28, just off his school record. Seniors BJ Hornikel and Vlad Caciuc then clocked matching legs of 19.13 before sophomore Brett Walsh screamed home with a time of 18.72.
"Brett is the consummate team player," Pursley said. "When it's on the line, that brings out the best in him and that's what you want on the end of your relay."
The silver medal in the 200 freestyle relay marked the highest Alabama relay finish at the conference championships since the UA men won the 200 medley relay in 1994.
Individually, Hornikel took fifth in the 50 freestyle, posting his third career-best time of the championships, touching the wall at 19.45. Walsh (13th) and Caciuc (15th) also scored in the 50 freestyle after posting matching career-best times of 19.79 in prelims. Prior to this week, Alabama had four swimmers on its all-time roster who had tallied times under 20 seconds in the 50 freestyle. As of tonight, there are four on this year's roster.
In other action, freshman Anton McKee posted a 4:17.82 in the 500 freestyle to take 10th overall. A personal-best time, it ranks McKee fifth all-time for the Tide. Senior Jake Carloni and freshman Brent Sagert both scored off the 1-meter springboard, taking 16th and 17th, respectively. For the women, junior Kaylin Burchell took 14th in the 200 individual medley with a time 1:59.71. She posted a career-best 1:59.30 in prelims, which ranks her third all-time at Alabama.
Alabama returns to action on Thursday with the 400 individual medley, 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle and the women's 3-meter springboard event. Preliminaries get underway at 9 a.m. CT. For all the latest information on the Alabama swimming and diving teams, follow AlabamaSwimDive on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.