CLEVELAND, Mississippi, September 20. ALABAMA’s swimming and diving season kicked off in a big way with the Crimson Tide rolling to wins in 31 of 32 events that included four pool records at Delta State. The women won 242-50, while the men claimed a 238-62 victory.
“We had a good day, a good start to what will be a long season,” UA head coach Dennis Pursley said. “It was good to get up and race against someone other than ourselves and there were obviously quite a few bright spots. Now we have our starting point and we will work forward from here.”
Australian freshman distance phenom Bonnie Macdonald made her mark early with a 10:05.39 in the 1000-yard free to kick off her Crimson Tide career. That’s a pool record, and vaulted her to ninth in Alabama history. She also won the 500 in 4:58.09 and helped the 400 free relay to victory.
Sophomore Emma Saunders also tracked down a pool record with a 1:49.89 in the 200-yard free for the win after anchoring Bama to a pool record in the 200 medley relay with Stephanie Kinsey, Kaylin Burchell, Kristel Vourna and Saunders clocking a 1:43.27. Burchell then threw down a 1:02.90 in the women’s 100-yard breast to collect the fourth facility standard of the afternoon.
Vlad Zinca provided Delta State with its only event win of the day with a 1:52.23 to 1:52.37 touchout triumph ahead of Bama’s Hunter Hinson in the 200-yard fly.
For Bama, Brett Walsh, Brian Westlake and Crews Wellford clinched multiple individual title for the men. Walsh won the 50 freestyle in 20.77, and the 100 butterfly in 49.96, while Westlake won the 200 freestyle with a 1:41.61 and the 500 freestyle with a 4:38.21. Welford won the 100 and 200 backstroke, touching the wall at 49.80 and 1:48.61, respectively.