The Alabama men’s swimming and diving squad used a total team effort to notch its first dual-meet win over the Auburn Tigers since 2010 Friday afternoon, 160-140.
“This is something that our men have been trying to do for a number of years,” UA head coach Dennis Pursley said. “It was a fun meet for them and a real plus for our program. It was truly a team effort. One of the ways we look at a performance is, ‘Did we win the close races?’ and we did that today. Whether it was between first and second or fifth and sixth, we found a way in most cases to get our hand on the wall first.”
Alabama surged to an early lead by winning the first relay and then six of the next eight individual races. Junior Zane Waddell combined with seniors Laurent Bams, Knox Auerbach and Robert Howard to open the meet with a decisive 400 medley relay win. Howard (200 freestyle), Waddell (100 backstroke) and Bams (100 breaststroke) then won three individual races in a row. Howard also won the 50 freestyle while Bams added 100 freestyle win to his tally.
Freshman Spencer Walker, who was second in the 100 backstroke, chipped in a win of his own in the 200 backstroke.
From that point, Auburn started to close the gap, winning three-straight races as well as both springboard diving events.
With one individual race left before the final relay, freshman Nicholas Perera all but slammed the door on the Tigers with a dominant win in the 400 individual medley.
Waddell, Bams, sophomore Sam DiSette and Howard then closed out the meet, and the Tigers, by winning the 400 freestyle relay.
A year after snapping a drought of their own with a win at Auburn, the Alabama women fell to the Tigers 188-110.
“When our women beat Auburn last year, it was maybe the biggest upset of the season in the NCAA,” Pursley said. “We knew they were going to come in here looking for payback, and on paper they were considerably stronger than we are at this point. But the final score was closer than the seedings predicted. I was really pleased with the way our women competed despite being overmatched.”
Senior Justine Macfarlane led the Crimson Tide with wins in both the 100 and 200 breaststrokes. She led a 1-2 sweep in the 100 breaststroke when senior Sarah Helm took second. Freshman Rhyan White, Macfarlane, sophomore Flora Molnar and freshman Kalia Antoniou opened the meet with a win in the 400 medley relay.
The Alabama men and women return to action on January 12 against Florida State at 10 a.m. in the Alabama Aquatic Center. The Crimson Tide women also face Miami on that date in a double-dual with FSU.