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 incurs first loss before SEC tournament

The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams’ regular seasons are over, and now just two and half weeks stand between the teams and their postseason.

Both teams will kick off their postseasons in Gainesville, Fla., at the Southeastern Conference Championships. The diving portion of the meet will begin on Feb. 11 while the swimming portion will start on Feb. 16.

Though the men’s and women’s teams both lost to Georgia and South Carolina last weekend, each team will get another shot at its competition at the SEC Championships.

“We’ve been going against top-25 teams all year long,” said head coach Eric McIlquham. “In our sport, as long as we finish well in our conference and NCAAs, I think we’ll be good.”

Though the Tide lost, the men did have some swimmers who put up good individual performances. Freshman BJ Hornikel and junior Joe Ziegler finished their regular seasons undefeated in their individual events. Hornikel won the 100 freestyle by seven hundredths of a second last week to defend his record.

The men’s team does not seem too discouraged after incurring its first losses of the season, but rather can focus on what is ahead.

“Really, in our sport, it comes down to what happens at the end of the season,” senior Daniel Armstrong said. “Throughout the season everybody’s a little tired and not really swimming at their full potential, but when it comes to championship season, that’s when we’re going to find out. In the end, it’ll just be how we all perform at SECs and NCAAs.”

Armstrong is confident the men will come out of the rest period racing fast times. For Armstrong, this will be his last SEC Championship with the Tide, and he said he hopes to finish out his senior season well.

“I’m hoping to make a couple improvements on last year,” Armstrong said. “I was ninth in the 200 breaststroke, so I was one spot out of the final. I really want to get in there this year; that would be really cool for me.”

Last season, both the men’s and women’s teams finished fifth at the SEC Championships, but both teams are hoping to improve on last year’s marks.

Junior Suzanne Schwee, who swims the butterfly and backstroke, would like to see the women’s team finish in the top four at the SEC Championships. Schwee would also like to qualify for the finals in the 200 butterfly again as she did last year and build upon her eighth-place finish.

Schwee is still encouraged, though the women’s team did not have the season they were hoping for, and plans to stay focused, despite the numbers going into the meet.

“My mindset going into this meet is just to race and not focus on times and rankings and NCAA-qualifying times,” Schwee said.

McIlquham will be resting the team in preparation for the upcoming championship season.

“The work is done,” he said. “The hay’s in the barn. We’re just resting them from here on out.”

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