By outreach@cw.ua.edu (Matt Speakman)

The Alabama Swimming and Dive team will travel to Cleveland, Mississippi, on Sept. 11 to face Delta State in their first meet of the season.

The team will look to build off of last year’s slate, where they finished 9th in the NCAA overall. The team is looking to improve by showing they are one of the best teams in the nation, beliebesCrews Wellford, one of the team’s captains, who said the team has higher goals for this year as they look to be a powerhouse in the NCAA.

“We were top ten last year and we believe we can be top five,” Wellford said.

Every team goes through loss of personnel after each season, and this year, the swim and dive team will look to implement their new freshman into roles left over by their departing members. Every year, Alabama brings in talented freshman, with a lot of them getting opportunities to compete in big events, Wellford said.

“We believe we can achieve that goal,” he said. “We haven’t lost anybody and we have a lot of good freshman coming in.”

Members of the team come from all different backgrounds, and many of the swimmers on this year’s roster have relocated to the states from different parts of the world. Both men’s and women’s team feature athletes that have come from different countries, with some hailing from as far as Europe and Africa. Even though the team has such a diverse background, Wellford said that there is no issue bringing everyone together to achieve an ultimate goal.

“We understand where they are coming from and what there role is,” Wellford said. “They play a huge part on our team.”

Both teams have entered into a transition period like they do every year, when new swimmers step up and take on leadership roles. New captain Emily Zapinslki is excited for her new role on the team.

“I just cannot wait to step up as a leader this year,” Zapinski said. “And to really try to make a positive impact on the team and get us going in the right direction.”

Even though swimmers are entering into new roles on the team, the way they prepare for a meet does not change. The have to lead by example and perform the way they want others to perform.They still want to attack each race the same, while showing the other swimmers on the team how to conduct themselves.

“Really it’s the same attitude everyday,” Zapinski said. “You want to have a positive attitude, a strong commitment, and display good character.”

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports