Feb. 20, 2013
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Alabama's men put a total of five swimmers into the finals of the 50 and 500 freestyle on day two of the Southeastern Conference Swimming and Diving Championships being held in the Texas A&M Natatorium this week.
"We continue to swim career best times at a pretty significant rate, and we're pretty pleased with that," UA head coach Dennis Pursleysaid. "On top of that, we're out there racing with heart and passion and that's paying off for us as well. Now we just have to continue to move forward and improve as we go along."
The Crimson Tide's sprint contingent was led by junior BJ Hornikel, who posted a 19.71 in prelims before touching the wall with a 19.82 in the championship final, taking eighth place. Hornikel's career-best mark in prelims moved him into second all-time at Alabama. He is now the second fastest Tide swimmer all time in the 50, 100 and 200 freestyles.
Freshman Brett Walsh posted a career-best 20.01 in prelims of the 50 before taking 15th place overall with a 20.22 in finals. Junior Vlad Caciucposted a 20.08 in prelims before taking 24th place with a 20.21. Caciuc and Walsh are third and fourth respectively all-time for UA.
Freshman distance ace Brian Westlake posted a career-best 4:20.19 in the preliminaries of the 500 freestyle to grab a spot in the championship final where he finished eighth after posting a 4:20.96. His time from prelims ranks him seventh all time for the Tide. Senior John Ellisposted a season-best 4:22.80 in finals, taking 21st overall.
The Tide men finished off day two of the championships by taking eighth in the 200 freestyle relay after Walsh, Hornikel and Caciuc combined with senior Jake Reynoldsto post a time of 1:19.05, just a quarter of a second off the school record and two-hundredths of a second ahead of ninth place Georgia.
Junior Paige McCleary, who finished fourth off the 3-meter springboard on day one of SECs, took 16th off the 1-meter board with a score of 263.75. Sophomore Lisa Bogosianalso scored off the 1-meter, taking 24th place after totaling 245.95 points.
In the 500 freestyle, the UA women’s lone senior, Jenna Gallo, took 20th place with a career-best time of 4:48.95, which solidifies her third-place spot on the Tide’s all-time top 10.
Alabama's women closed out the night with a 10th place finish in the 200 freestyle relay. Freshmen Justine Panian, Emma Saunders and Brittany Gilbert along with junior Stephanie Kinseyposted a season-best 1:32.77.
The Tide men finished the night in ninth place with 187 points while the women are in 10th with 161 points.
Thursday brings the men's and women's 400 individual medley, 100 butterfly and 200 butterfly as well as the men's 3-meter springboard.