In the first meet of the 2018-19 collegiate season, the Alabama swimming and diving teams came out on top against Delta State Friday afternoon in the Alabama Aquatic Center.
The Crimson Tide men won their meet by a score of 213-82, while the UA women beat the Statesmen 206-88. Alabama’s men won 13 of 14 individual events and touched first in both relays. The Tide also won 13 of 14 individual races and finished first in both relays in the women’s meet.
Alabama’s freshmen made an early-season splash, with seven of the Tide women’s 13 individual wins coming from freshmen, including two each from Kensey McMahon (500 and 1,000 freestyle), Rhyan White (100 and 200 butterfly) and Morgan Liberto (100 and 200 backstrokes).
The rookie’s tally was six of 13 on the men’s side of the meet, including Nico Hernandez-Tome (500 and 1,000 freestyle), Kevin Li (1-meter and 3-meter diving) and Nicholas Perera (200 butterfly and 200 individual medley). Other freshmen victories included Kalia Antoniou (50 freestyle) for the women.
“Our freshman had a good day,” UA head coach Dennis Pursley said. “We knew that we had some blue chippers coming on board, and there were others that we were hoping to see this kind of start from, but you never know until they have the chance to get up and race.
“We’ve got more depth in this freshman class in events where we haven’t had depth in the past,” Pursley said. “In my experience that’s the first step – you get experience, then they start challenging one another and then breakout from there. So it’s exciting to see.”
The veterans did their share in filling the individual win column.
For the women, senior Ayanna Woods earned a pair of wins (1-meter and 3-meter diving), while sophomores Julia Kukla (200 freestyle), Flora Molnar (100 freestyle) and Alina Faunce (tied for first in the 200 butterfly), junior Alexis Preski (200 individual medley) and senior Justine Macfarlane (200 breaststroke) all scooped up one win a piece.
The men picked wins from seniors Laurent Bams (100 and 200 freestyle) and Robert Howard (200 backstroke), junior Zane Waddell (50 freestyle and 100 butterfly) and sophomores Richard Miksi (100 breaststroke) and Michael Burris (200 breaststroke).
“I’ll have to go back and take a closer look, but I feel like our veterans are maybe a little ahead of where they were at this time last year and that’s the kind of progress we want to continue to make year-over-year,” Pursley said.
Alabama returns to action on Sept. 27 at Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio. The meet is slated to get underway at 6 p.m.