AUSTIN, Texas – The Alabama men’s swimming and diving team won its second NCAA 200 medley relay title in the past four years Friday night at the Jamail Texas Swimming Center in Austin, Texas.
Junior Zane Waddell and seniors Laurent Bams, Knox Auerbach and Robert Howard blazed to a time of 1:22.26, finishing more than tenth of a second ahead of second place California.
“I can’t even put it into words,” Howard said after the race. “I’m so happy to represent The University of Alabama, I just love this University. I was celebrating like crazy when we won this relay in 2016, and it’s crazy that we did it again, The guys who came ahead of us built it for us and we’re going to keep it at that level. That’s the tradition that’s been built at Alabama, that’s what comes with being a part of the Crimson Tide.”
Alabama has become one of the NCAA’s dominant teams in the 200 medley, finishing first or second in four of the last five years, including its first-ever national relay title in 2016.
“We’ve got a great bunch of guys to start with, but there’s a lot of confidence and pride, as well as a sense of ownership when it comes to that relay,” UA head coach Dennis Pursley said. “The first group (in 2016) set the standard, and our guys challenged themselves to live up to it.”
The relay title jumped the Tide into seventh place in the team standings with 110 points heading into Saturday. Alabama closes out the championships with Howard, Bams and Waddell in the 100 freestyle, freshman Nicholas Perera in the 200 breaststroke and the 400 freestyle relay.
In other finals action on Friday, Waddell and Bams both scored individually, taking 12th in the 100 backstroke and 100 breaststroke, respectively. Waddell posted a 45.14, while Bams went 52.09.
In prelims, Howard took 19th in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:33.37, while Perera was 28th in the 400 individual medley after putting up a time of 3:46.06.