Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Tide starts season with Auburn meet

The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams begin practice at 6 a.m. most days of the week. This is early, considering both teams are more concerned with peaking later in the season than in the beginning.

“The way we work is to focus on the backend of the season, and then everything builds up to our championship meets,” said head coach Eric McIlquham. “We just have to continue on with our course of training and stay the course through the course of the year.”

Both teams will open their seasons against Auburn at home Saturday at 11 a.m. and will turn around in two weeks to face LSU at home Oct. 23 at 1 p.m.

“We’ve got Auburn coming in, who’s always traditionally been a pretty strong power,” McIlquham said. “Coming in, it’s a great place to see where we are as a group and where we’re heading.”

Both the men’s and women’s teams are returning several seniors who hope to build on last season’s finishes.

“Being the last season, my senior season, I want to go again to NCAAs like I did my freshman and sophomore years,” said senior Catalin Cosma, who is second all-time in Alabama history in the 500 freestyle.

Cosma is coming off a junior year full of ups and downs, in which he did not qualify for the NCAA Tournament.

However, he said his previous season made him tougher.

Cosma plans to share some of his wisdom and experience with the freshmen class. Among members on this new roster is freshman Hunter Hinson, who competes in the 200 butterfly and recently competed on the U.S. National team.

The women’s team also has a new member who competed on the U.S. National team — freshman Callan Buck — who will add depth to the diving department.

Last year, the men’s team finished 26th at the NCAA tournament, just one spot out of the top 25. But McIlquham said he has even bigger goals for the men’s team this year: a run for a top-10 finish at the NCAA Tournament.

“I think with the depth we have this year and the talent that we have in our lineup, it could definitely happen,” he said.

As for the women’s team, McIlquham said he would like to see them place in the top 25 at the NCAA Tournament after a 31st-place finish last year.

“Last season, I made NCAAs and I didn’t final there,” said junior Suzanne Schwee. “So hopefully this year I’ll make NCAAs and final there being in the top 15, the next year hopefully in the top eight.”

Schwee qualified last year in the 200 bufferfly but this year said she hopes to qualify in her other two events, the 200 individual medley and the 100 butterfly.

But before the Tide can look to qualifying for NCAAs, they’ll have to conquer Southeastern Conference match-ups and do well at the SEC Championships.

“I think we all just need to be a little more motivated and a little more focused and I definitely think we’ll be top four in SECs,” Schwee said.

The Tide’s last SEC title was in 1987 for the men and 1985 for the women.

However, the SEC Championships are not until February, so Alabama has time to prepare.

“I learned to focus on the process and not on the outcome,” Cosma said. “That’s what I’ve learned in the last few years.”

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