Jan. 11, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
The Alabama swimming and diving team faces off against newly-minted Southeastern Conference foe Missouri Saturday, Jan. 12 at 11 a.m. in the Alabama Aquatic Center. It is Alabama's first dual meet of the New Year and its first team competition since early December.
Saturday is also Alumni Day for the Tide, with dozens of past swimmers and divers making their way back to the Capstone, some for the first time since they competed for the Tide. Among those slated to be back on campus are legendary head coach Don Gambril, NCAA Champion Glenn Mills and four-time Olympic gold medalist Jon Olsen.
"We're going to have a big group of alumni here over the weekend," UA head coach Dennis Pursley said. "We're excited to have them back and to have that energy on deck. We're also looking forward to stepping up and showing the alumni that this is a team that is moving in the right direction."
The Tide comes into the weekend following a pair of training camps over the holidays, including a week-long camp in Florida.
"I thought our training camp in Florida was probably the biggest step forward we've taken this year," Pursley said. "We challenged everyone to take it up a notch. I didn't know what to expect, whether they would be able to go to that next level, both as far as the quantity of work and the quality of work. Now, on the other side, I couldn't be more pleased with what we accomplished since the end of the fall semester in terms of training."
For the Tide, this weekend begins the countdown to the championship season. After tomorrow's meet, Alabama has just one more regular-season outing before the SEC Championships.
"We're putting the finishing touches on the heavy training phase of the season and starting to transition into focusing on skill work, just sharpening things up and get ready for the championship meets at the end."
Saturday's meet and the Tide's Feb. 2 regular-season finale against Georgia and South Carolina will provide the Tide its last tune-ups before SECs and a chance for some swimmers and divers to earn their spot going forward.
"We've got some athletes that are on the bubble as far as making the conference team," Pursley said. "So these next couple of meets are going to be really important for them to show what they can do and try to earn a spot, so there's a lot on the line."