March 29, 2014
AUSTIN, Texas -
The Alabama men's swimming and diving team took 12th place with 121.5 points at the 2014 NCAA Championships that were held in Austin, Texas this week, jumping 16 places from the year before.
It was Alabama's first top-20 finish at the NCAA Championships since 2007 and the highest finish since 2003 when the Crimson Tide also finished 12th. Alabama's points total was its highest since 1994 and its first tally over 100 since 2006. All this came in head coach Dennis Pursley's second season.
The Tide finished strong, posting top-5 finishes in the 200 breaststroke and 400 freestyle relay while also scoring in the 100 freestyle.
In the championship's final event, freshman Kristian Gkolomeev, who won the 50 freestyle on the meet's first day, combined with sophomore Brett Walsh and seniors Vlad Caciuc and BJ Hornikel to post a 2:51.65 to take fifth place, jumping Alabama from 14th to 12th place in the team standings.
Earlier in the night, Anton McKee, the only freshman in the top eight of the 200 breaststroke, turned in a 1:52.31 to take fourth place.
Hornikel and Gkolomeev both scored in the 100 freestyle, taking 10th and 13th respectively. Hornikel, who was 16th after prelims, broke his own school record in the event, touching the wall at 42.39, bettering the mark of 42.39 he set last season. Gkolomeev posted a career-best time of 42.47 in prelims before finishing with a 42.59 in finals.
In prelims, freshman Pavel Romanov took 22nd place in the 200 breaststroke with a career-best time of 1:55.38, while freshman Connor Oslin took 33rd place in the 200 backstroke with a time of 1:43.05.
With Hornikel's 100 freestyle mark, Alabama has broken 21 school records this season, including 12 by the men's team with seven of those coming in individual races and the other five coming in relays.