Nov. 18, 2009
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
The Alabama Swimming and Diving teams change gears this weekend after opening the season with a series of dual meets when it heads to the Tennessee Invitational held in Knoxville, Tenn.
"We'll be using this meet as kind of a `mid-term exam'," Alabama head coach Eric McIquham said. "We want to go out and make as many NCAA cuts as we can and just get up and race. This will give us a good indicator of where we are after three months of training."
In addition to Tennessee, the Crimson Tide will face off against Kentucky and Virginia Tech in a prelims and finals format that will mimic the postseason meets.
"It's going to be a great meet," McIlquham said. "All these teams were in the top-25 last season."
Going into the meet, Alabama figures prominently in the national rankings with more than a dozen swimmers figuring in the nation's top-50, including senior Mark Randall who is ranked first in the mile and in the top-5 in both the 500 and the 1000 freestyles. Junior Catalin Cosma is ranked seventh in the 500 freestyle, sophomore Joe Ziegler is eighth in the 200 backstroke and junior Denes Zubcsek is 11th in the 200 butterfly.
On the women's side of the slate, senior Agustina de Giovanni is ranked in the top 10 nationally in three different events, the 100 and 200 breaststrokes and the 200 IM. Her time in the 200 breaststroke last week at Auburn ranks her No. 2 nationally.
The meet gets underway Thursday at 10 a.m. with the 500 freestyle and concludes on Saturday.