Oct. 11, 2012
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
- After opening at home last weekend, the Alabama swimming and diving teams open up Southeastern Conference competition with their first road meet at Auburn this Friday.
The Crimson Tide men and women opened the season with dominating wins over Delta State last Saturday in the Alabama Aquatic Center. This Friday, they will travel to Auburn, Ala. to take on the Tigers starting at 1 p.m. in James E. Martin Aquatics Center. It will mark the season, home and conference opener for the Auburn men and women after last month's Orange and Blue intrasquad meet.
"I was pleased with the spirit and demeanor of the team against Delta State," UA head coach Dennis Pursley said." That's not something I want to see change no matter who we're facing. Anytime we go into a meet, we need to be focused, ready to race, ready to come together as a team and to perform up to the best of our abilities. We did a good job of that against Delta State and I hope to see the same against Auburn."
Pursley, in his first season as the Tide's head coach, knows the Tide will face a much greater challenge against Auburn, but what he doesn't want to change from meet one to meet two is the intensity or the effort.
"They're strong pretty much top to bottom with both the men and women," Pursley said. "They're one of the NCAA's premiere programs. We're not at that level yet. We aspire to be there and we expect to be there. Only time will tell how long it will take, but we're not going to concede anything along the way. We're going to be racing to win no matter if on paper it's a long shot or not. Our men's team showed that a couple of years ago when they pulled a huge upset and knocked off Auburn in a dual meet."
Alabama's men will be led by junior All-American Bjoern Hornikel, who started his third season off with wins in the 100 and 200 freestyles and as part of the 400 freestyle relay against Delta State. Junior Cameron Conners and freshman Brian Westlake also picked up a pair of individual wins against the Statesmen.
On the women's side, junior All-American and 2012 Olympian Kristel Vourna started her third season off with individual wins in the 100 and 200 butterfly as well as legs on both the Tide's winning relays. The Tide will also be looking to senior Jenna Gallo, junior Paige McCleary and sophomore Kaylin Burchell, who all earned a pair of individual wins against Delta State.
The meet will mark the first time to the two teams have faced off during the regular season since the fall of 2010 and the first time the meet has been in Auburn since the fall of 2009.