The No. 17 Alabama men’s swimming and diving team opened its Southeastern Conference schedule with a 162-136 upset over No. 10 Texas A&M Saturday morning at the Alabama Aquatic Center.
“We knew we were going to be challenged today,” UA head coach Dennis Pursley. “The Texas A&M men finished ahead of us at conference last year and were ranked in the top-10 and ahead of us coming into the meet. Obviously, the guys stepped up and came through. I was very pleased with the spirit and the energy today. We won some races that on paper we weren’t expected to win and that made a difference.”
The Crimson Tide women fell to the No. 5 ranked Aggies by a score of 178-112.
“On the women’s side of the meet, the score was closer than it has been in years past,” Pursley said. “Texas A&M’s women are one of the perennial top-five teams in the nation. What I’m pleased about is that they had to work for it today. While the meet wasn’t in doubt from a scoring standpoint, in years past the races wouldn’t have been very exciting and that wasn’t the case today. We’re starting to close the gap.”
The Tide’s men won both relays and seven of 12 individual races against the Aggies, led by seniors Robert Howard (50 and 200 freestyles) and Laurent Bams (100 freestyle and 100 breaststroke) as well as junior Zane Waddell (100 butterfly and 100 backstroke). All three men won two events a piece and swam legs on the Tide’s winning 200 medley and freestyle relays.
The Alabama women got wins from freshman Kensey McMahon (1,650 freestyle) and Kalia Antoniou (50 freestyle), as well as six runner-up finishes in the individual races.
For its next meet, the Alabama men and women head to Tennessee, facing the Vols on Friday, Oct. 26 at 9 a.m.
“We’ve got Tennessee next weekend on the road,” Pursley said. “We’ve got one of the most difficult dual meet schedules in the country. There just aren’t any easy meets the rest of the way, so when we can, we need to get the win.”