By (Elliott Propes)

The Alabama Aquatics Center was filled with excitement for the last time this season. The regular season had come to a close on senior day for the Alabama men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams on Saturday against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. With excitement in the air, the seniors responded and put together a winning performance for both teams. The men and women both won 199-99 and 191-106.

“They came here four years ago, and it was their dream to swim for Alabama, and you always want to finish up on a nice note,” coach Dennis Pursley said. “They all responded to the opportunity to finish up on a positive note in their home pool. I’m just real proud of them.”

One of those seniors that responded was Brian Westlake. Westlake competed in the 500-yard freestyle and won the event with a time of 4:30.37.

“I think we definitely dominated from start to finish,” Westlake said. “We won basically every event there was. Some we had first, second and third. I think it’s really setting us up well for conference.”

Westlake wasn’t the only senior with success. Emma Saunders won the women’s 200-yard freestyle with a 1:50.06 time and the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 2:00.70.

“We’ve come a long way, especially since my freshman year,” Saunders said. “We’ve become closer as a team. We are working harder. We have just so much more talent as well, and we are pushing each other every day. I think we are definitely getting there.”

Pursley said he was impressed by how much the team has progressed since he became the coach, and he credits a lot of the progression to the senior class.

“Three years ago this team went to Georgia Tech for invitational competition and they were nowhere in sight. They just crushed us both men and women, and this team has not only stepped up to this level but has gone beyond it,” Pursley said. “The progress they’ve made is pretty remarkable.”

The seniors on the team were actually never recruited by Pursley, as he became head coach their 
sophomore year.

“When the new staff came on board, the expectations changed,” Pursley said. “You know they could have easily dropped the ball and said well this is not what they bargained for, but they didn’t. They’ve embraced it, they’ve responded to it and they’ve been a huge part of the progress this team has made these four years.”

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports