March 12, 2014
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama men's swimming and diving team is sending its largest contingent in more than a decade to the NCAA Championships, which will be held March 27-29 in Austin, Texas.
The Crimson Tide qualified five swimmers in individual events for the national championships and four student-athletes who will compete exclusively on relays for a total of nine.
"To have this many swimmers make the NCAA Championships and to have all five relays going is big step forward from last year," UA head coach Dennis Pursley said. "We'll have probably the youngest team at the national championship which brings an excitement all its own, and we're committed to keep this program moving forward."
Four Alabama freshmen - Anton McKee, Connor Oslin, Kristian Gkolomeev and Pavel Romanov - qualified in individual events, the most in the nation this season. The rookies will be joined by senior BJ Hornikel in the individual events along with senior Vlad Caciuc, junior Phil Deaton along with sophomores Brett Walsh and Crew Wellford in the relay events.
Hornikel, a three-time All-American, will make his third appearance at the NCAA Championships. He will be looking to improve on his fifth-place finish in the 100 freestyle from last year's championships in Indianapolis, Ind. The senior sprinter will swim the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle as well as legs on the 200, 400 and 800 freestyle relays along with the 400 medley relay.
McKee - who won the 200 breaststroke with a school and league record at last month SEC Championships - and Romanov will swim the 100 and 200 breaststrokes. McKee will also swim the 500 freestyle along with legs on the 200 and 400 medley relays. Gkolomeev, who joined the in January for the spring semester, will swim the 50 and 100 freestyles as well as the 200 and 400 freestyle relays.
Oslin will swim the 100 backstroke as well as the 200 and 400 medley relays and the 800 freestyle relay. Deaton and Wellford will swim on the 800 freestyle relay while Walsh and Caciuc will swim the 200 and 400 freestyle relays and the 200 medley relay. Walsh will also swim a leg on the 400 medley relays.
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