Oct. 14, 2011
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
After two months of preseason training, the Alabama Swimming and Diving teams get their season underway this Saturday with a tri-meet in Tallahassee, Fla., against South Carolina and host school Florida State starting at 11 a.m. ET.
"We're ready to get started," Eric McIquham, in his ninth season as Alabama's head coach, said. "We're ready to get up on the blocks and race someone besides ourselves for a change - we're ready to get up on the boards and compete against some new faces."
The Crimson Tide's men beat the Seminoles in Tuscaloosa last season and were edged by the Gamecocks in Columbia at the end of the regular season. On the women's side, while it came down to the last event in both meets, Alabama fell just short of South Carolina and FSU last season.
"On the men's side we had some great meets against those guys last year, and I know that we're looking forward to seeing where stand against two tough teams," McIlquham said. "After coming up just a few points shy of both Florida State and South Carolina last year, I think our ladies are going to be looking to turn it around this weekend."
On the men's side, Alabama's youth explosion from last year, which included three members of the Southeastern Conference All-Freshman squad, is ready to pick up where they left off last season. The Tide's current rookies are looking to add to an already solid core, giving the Tide's its best depth in several years.
While depth is still an issue on the women's side, there is definite quality at the top of the Tide's lineup, including three SEC All-Freshman honorees from a year ago, which will help keep Alabama in meets during the regular season, but will be most apparent once the Tide reaches the championship season.
In addition to opening the Tide's season, Saturday's meet will also serve as a homecoming of sorts for senior Joe Ziegler who grew up in Tallahassee and for sophomore Hunter Hinson, who trained at the Area Tallahassee Aquatic Club.
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