Baton Rouge, LA, November 1. THE Alabama Swimming and Diving Teams opened up the 2004-05 regular season with decisive wins in Baton Rouge Friday night, according to reports from the Tide.
The men defeated LSU 171-111 while the women defeated LSU 80-53 and Arkansas 74-59 in a double dual meet. For the Tide men it was the fourth straight win over the Tigers, while the women notched their fifth consecutive LSU win and second in a row over Arkansas.
“We swam really well today,” Head coach Eric McIlquham said. “We had some impressive swims out there today and posted some times that will lead the nation when the rankings come out next week. Overall it was a great way to get the season started.”
Junior All-American Kathryn Hallquist got the women off to a strong start, winning the 100 backstroke by nearly a second, touching at 56.76. She came back to win the 200 backstroke as well, posting a 2:04.36.
Senior Anne Poleska, fresh from her bronze medal performance at the Summer Olympics, swept both the 100 and 200 breaststroke, winning by two seconds and 13 seconds respectively. She touched with a 1:02.43 in the 100 and 2:10.64 in the 200. She also won the 200 IM, turning in a 2:03.74.
Sophomore Victoria Genova won the 100 butterfly by out touching Emily Gregory of Arkansas by .04 seconds, going 56.74. She then came back to win the 200 butterfly by more than five seconds, with a 2:02.98. Junior Anna Grant and sophomore Melina Bassino went one-two in the 200 freestyle, bettering the rest of the field by nearly three seconds. Grant won with a 1:52.45. Senior Arlene Semeco won the 50 and 100 freestyles in dominating fashion, posting a 23.47 in the 50 and a 50.74 in the 100.
Senior All-American Franck Southon led the men’s meet off with a decisive win in the 100 backstroke with a 51.11. He also won the 200 backstroke, posting a 1:49.80.
Sophomore Vlad Polyakov, a finalist in both the 100 and 200 breaststroke at the Olympics this summer, and a double bronze medalist in those events at the FINA World Championships last month, won those events against the Tigers by a margin of three seconds in the 100 and eight in the 200. Polyakov and Southon went one-two in the 200 IM while sophomore Tim Hansen took third to give Alabama a clean sweep. Polyakov posted a 53.93 in the 100 breaststroke, 1:57.48 in the 200 breaststroke and a 1:52.95 in the 200 IM.
Sophomore All-American Apostolis Tsagkarakis won the 100 butterfly by more than half a second, touching 50.90 and the 50 freestyle with a 20.60. Junior J.T. Jones won the 1000 freestyle by nearly 10 seconds, swimming a 9:40.81 and the 500 freestyle with a 4:39.20. Rookie Ryan Latone won the first race of his Alabama career, taking first in the 200 freestyle. Junior All-American Darren Erasmus won the 100 freestyle with a 45.87.
Junior All-American Aaron Ashworth won the three-meter diving event with a score of 350.85 followed closely in second by senior All-American Stewart Smith’s 349.35 tally.
The Tide gets back in action Saturday (Oct. 30) at 3 p.m. in Cleveland, Miss. against homestanding Delta State and Louisiana-Monroe.