The Alabama men’s swimming and diving team is sending eight swimmers to the NCAA Championships.
The NCAA Championships start Wednesday and finish Saturday in Austin, Texas, at the University of Texas.
“From the beginning of the year this has been our main priority,” Alabama coach Dennis Pursley said. “This is what we have worked so hard for.”
Seniors Robert Howard and Laurent Bams earned NCAA championship berths for the fourth time while junior Zane Waddell picked up his third trip to NCAAs. Nicholas Perera earned a berth in his freshman season.
Senior Knox Auerbach, sophomores Sam DiSette and Jack Blake and freshman Jonathan Berneburg all made the NCAA roster as part of its relay contingent. It will be the first NCAAs for all four.
Howard has been lights out all season for Alabama. The senior team captain just notched wins in the 100 freestyle with a career time of 41.57 and was a part of the winning 400 freestyle relay that set a new school record time in the SEC Tournament.
Howard is seeded No. 1 in the nation for 50 freestyle, but he is not letting that get in the way of his focus and preparation.
“Being the top seed does not mean anything to me,” Howard said. “I don’t think there’s any target on my back.”
This attitude has helped Howard have success and be a model for consistency, and Pursley has been adamant about how much he helps the team.
“Howard has blossomed into an incredible athlete,” Pursley said. “He helps the team with his focus and it rubs off on the team.”
Another senior that has impacted this program is Auerbach. The senior Johns Creek, Georgia, native took home 11 top-five finishes in his final season with the Crimson Tide.
This will be Auerbach’s first NCAA Championship appearance.
“Hard work pays off,” Auerbach said. “I’m excited to get out to Austin and represent Alabama.”
At this point of the season, the Crimson Tide has put in the time and done all the prep work. The only thing to do now is pull it all together.
“We need our athletes to be fully-rested,” Pursley said. “It’s time to sharpen everything and get prepared.”