Sept. 20, 2013
CLEVELAND, Miss. - The Alabama swimming and diving team got the 2013-14 season off to a strong start with a dominating performance at Delta State Friday afternoon. The Crimson Tide won 31 of 32 events, with the women delivering a clean sweep of the events in addition to breaking four pool records in the first five events. The UA women won 242-50 while the men outpointed DSU 238-62.
"We had a good day, a good start to what will be a long season," UA head coach Dennis Pursley said. "It was good to get up and race against someone other than ourselves and there were obviously quite a few bright spots. Now we have our starting point and we will work forward from here."
Freshman distance ace Bonnie Macdonald won the first race of her Crimson Tide career, taking the 1,000 freestyle with a 10:05.39 which broke the pool record and immediately ranks her ninth all-time at Alabama. She came back later in the meet and won the 500 freestyle with a 4:58.09 before finishing out the meet by swimming a leg on the winning 400 freestyle relay.
Fellow freshman Leah Bird won the 200 butterfly as well as leading off the Tide's winning 400 freestyle relay. The rookie duo of Taylor Zablocki and Dakota Toner swept the diving events, with Zablocki scoring 273.32 points to win the 1-meter board while Toner tallied 266.25 points to win the 3-meter.
Not to be outdone, the Tide's veterans were also fast off the blocks. The 200 medley relay of senior Stephanie Kinsey, junior Kaylin Burchell, junior Kristel Vourna and sophomore Emma Saunders got the Tide started with a pool record 1:43.27 and a first-place finish.
Saunders then came back to win the 200 freestyle with a pool record 1:49.89 while Burchell won the 100 breaststroke with a pool-record 1:02.90. Saunders also won the 100 freestyle with a 51.51 and anchored the winning 400 freestyle relay while Burchell also touched first in the 400 individual medley with a time of 4:30.68.
Kinsey won the 100 and 200 backstrokes with times of 56.04 and 2:02.75, respectively, while Vourna won the 50 freestyle with a 23.99 and the 100 butterfly with a 55.54 before closing a busy afternoon with a leg on the winning 400 freestyle relay. Sophomore Stephanie Klotz chipped in a win in the 200 breaststroke, touching the wall at 2:16.57 to keep the Tide perfect on the day.
On the men's side of the slate, Alabama opened and closed with relay wins. Freshmen Connor Oslin and Anton McKee combined with sophomore Brett Walsh and senior BJ Hornikel to win the 200 medley relay with a 1:30.98 while Walsh, senior Vlad Caciuc, freshman Alex Gray and Hornikel closed out the meet with a 3:05.21 win in the 400 freestyle relay.
McKee came back to win the 1,000 freestyle with a 9:28.91 and the 200 breaststroke with a 2:01.05. Rookie diver Brent Sagert won both the 1-meter and 3-meter boards, totaling 313.77 and 356.25, respectively. Oslin also opened his first meet wearing the crimson and white of Alabama with an individual win, taking top honors in the 400 individual medley with a time of 4:02.04.
The sophomore trio of Walsh, Brian Westlake and Crews Wellford all won a pair of individual titles. Walsh won the 50 freestyle, 20.77, and the 100 butterfly, 49.96, while Westlake won the 200 freestyle with a 1:41.61 and the 500 freestyle with a 4:38.21. Welford won the 100 and 200 backstroke, touching the wall at 49.80 and 1:48.61, respectively.
Hornikel and senior Cameron Conners both picked up individual victories to round out the Tide's winning ways. Hornikel won the 100 freestyle with a 45.94 while Conners outraced the field in the 100 breaststroke, winning with a 57.06.
The Tide returns to action with its home opener on Oct. 12 against ACC power Florida State at 11 a.m. in the Alabama Aquatic Center. For the latest information on the Alabama swimming and diving follow @AlabamaSwimDive, on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Also, general athletic news can also be found at UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and AlabamaAthletics on Facebook.