By (Cody Estremera)

The Alabama men’s swimming team will travel to Missouri on Feb. 16 to participate in the upcoming SEC Championship while seeking to pick up where it left off after the team’s last 
home meet.

“We’ve proven [ourselves] with everything we’ve done so far,” said sophomore Luke Kaliszak. “I fully expect we are going to keep surprising people.”

Last season the men finished fifth at the SEC Championships, but this year, the Crimson Tide is aiming to finish in the top three.

“We’re up there, and people are running scared, now that people know we are coming for them,” team captain Crews 
Wellford said.

The team has continually been rising in the points at the SEC Championship the last two years. In 2013, the team finished 10th. The next year they jumped up to fourth place. The biggest factor that sets this event apart from any other meet is the excitement that comes with competing on a bigger stage.

Whether this is a swimmer’s first time competing for the conference championship or their last, remaining calm and collected is crucial for a successful week.

“There’s always some kind of nerves, but when I get up on the block I’m ready to go,” Wellford said. “I feel like Peyton Manning almost, and this could be my last rodeo.”

Coach Dennis Pursley said this year’s senior class has remained focused. Sometimes Pursley watches seniors step off the gas a little as they prepare for graduation and life after swimming, but he said he hasn’t seen that with this group.

“Our senior class has been exceptional,” Pursley said. “Each one of them has stepped up their level of commitment and focus.”

The Crimson Tide is looking to repeat in some events; Kaliszak, with the 200m freestyle relay; Connor Oslin with the 100m backstroke, and Alabama with the 400m relay, among other events.

“Our goal is to keep getting faster,” Pursley said. “It won’t be too far down the road before we are competing for championships.”

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports