By (Matt Speakman)

Alabama’s swimming and diving teams fell to Auburn in Tuscaloosa on Oct. 9 in their home openers. The men lost a neck and neck battle 158-142, while the women lost by a larger margin 192-108. The Tide’s record falls to 1-1-0 overall and 0-1-0 in SEC competition.

“The score didn’t up the way we would liked it to,” said head coach Dennis Pursley. “The guys were right there with them in the end in the team score, and the girls were a lot closer then they have been in the past, so we are closing the gap.”

Alabama picked up wins in three of the four relay races, including a sweep in the 200 freestyle relays. Freshman Robert Howard and juniors Alex Gray and Kristian Gkolomeev joined senior Brett Walsh to capture a win in the men’s 200 freestyle with a time of 1:19.54. Sophomore Temarie Tomley and junior Bailey Scott swam with seniors Justine Panian and Emma Saunders to post a time of 1:36.86 to secure first place.

“It came down to a touch,” Pursley said. “Both the women’s and men’s team won the relays, which are big team events. It kind of gave us a big boost, even though the score didn’t end up the way we wanted it to, it took a little wind out of Auburn’s sails.”

Alabama also secured 8 individual victories over Auburn in the meet. Senior Emma Saunders won the 200 individual freestyle race, touching the wall with a time of 1:48.61. Alabama finished first and second in the men’s 100 back, with sophomore Luke Kaliszak posting a 47.48 finish and junior Connor Oslin finishing with a time of 47.90.

The Crimson Tide picked up first, second and third in the 50 freestyle with reigning national champion Gkolomeev posting a time of 19.87 to win the event. Sophmore Mia Nonnenberg swam to a first place finish in 400 meter individual medley race with a time of 4:11.87.

“We did some pretty awesome swims,” said senior Emma Saunders. “We might not have won the meet, but looking at everyone’s personal times, I think we did a good job.”

Support for both teams was out in full force as fans packed into the Acquatic center. During the last couple of events, fans cheered loud and proud as races came down to the wire. Swimmers stuck around afterwards to sign autographs for the masses. Sophmore Luke Kaliszak said support means a lot to the program.

“It means everything to have everyone come out and support us,” Kaliszak said. “It is almost like they are swimming it with you, and you don’t feel alone. It really makes a big difference.”

Both teams will be back in action on Oct. 31st as they take on South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina.

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports