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

Bama breaks 18-year drought


The last time the Alabama football team beat Auburn? Last year. The last time the Alabama men’s swimming and diving team beat Auburn? 1993.

But last weekend Alabama’s losing streak snapped when the Crimson Tide defeated Auburn 133 points to 110 points at home.

This was no small feat considering Auburn is a powerhouse in the swimming arena. Auburn has won six of the last eight NCAA Championships, but this year the Crimson Tide appears to be right at Auburn’s championship level.

After the victory, swimmers were left feeling confident and were pleased with the winning margin.

“It’s a pretty good bit,” said senior Alan Axford. “We put a pretty good whipping on them. We’re proud of that.”

Head coach Eric McIlquham provided a different take on the victory and kept the meet in perspective. He said the victory wasn’t really a blowout and that momentum can shift quickly in the sport.

“Any race is a swing of 10 points one way or the other from first to second,” McIlquham said. “That was a pretty close meet when you look at it. We had seven races that came down to less than a tenth of a second.”

One of those seven races was the 800-meter freestyle relay, in which freshman BJ Hornikel participated.

“I was a little nervous at first,” Hornikel said. “It was my first dual meet. It was exciting to be on that relay.”

Hornikel won the 100-meter freestyle in 45.19 seconds and is among 14 freshmen on the roster this year making major contributions to the team early in the season.

“We all practice together as a group,” Hornikel said. “We’re all kind of the same in practice; class [status] doesn’t matter in practice or in the meet.”

There’s no doubt that team camaraderie helped Saturday during the meet. In the 200-meter butterfly, the Tide took the first three places. Many team members said they believe the home crowd support helped them finish on top.

“We don’t want them coming in here and beating us in our own place,” Axford said. “The fact that we had a lot more fans here since the meet was at home was just a great atmosphere for us.”

Axford recalled the close 800-meter freestyle relay toward the end of the meet.

“That was probably the most exciting race of the day,” Axford said. “I think even if we didn’t win that race we probably still would have won, but I don’t think anyone knew that at the time.”

Even though the meet may have gone to the wire, the Tide was satisfied with the victory, and it held significant importance for seniors.

“One of the biggest things for me is just the fact that I can put that on my resume,” Axford said. “I know that sometime during the four years I’ve been here that I’ve beat Auburn. It’s a good thing for me to know that whenever I leave here that I’ve beat them once.”

The Tide will resume its Southeastern Conference competition when it hosts LSU on Oct. 23.

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