TUSCALOOSA, Alabama, October 6. THE Alabama swimming and diving teams opened the 2012-13 season and the start of Dennis Pursley's tenure as the Crimson Tide's head coach with commanding wins against Delta State on both the men's and women's side of Saturday's meet at the Alabama Aquatic Center.
The Alabama women swept all 16 events to post a 190-85 win while the men won 14 of 16 events to post a 192-98 win.
“There are some rough edges that we need to work on, but overall it was a good start for us,” Pursley said. “This early in the season, I wasn't expecting to see any person best times, though I think we did turn in one or two, but everyone for the most part was about where I wanted to see them. Overall I was very pleased with the attitude and the demeanor with which the team went through the meet. They were together as a team, they were focused and they were excited about the meet and the team.”
The Tide opened the meet by winning both the women's and men's 200 medley relays. Junior Lauren Piper, sophomore Kaylin Burchell, junior Kristel Vourna, and freshman Brittany Gilbert combined to post a time of 1:45.85 to win the women's race while senior Reese Shirey, junior Devan Terry, senior Anestis Arampatzis, and junior Vlad Caciuc posted a time of 1:33.28.
Freshman Brian Westlake opened up the individual scoring on the men's side by winning the 1000 freestyle with a 9:18.97. He also won the 500 freestyle later in the meet with a 4:35.15. Freshman Crews Wellford also picked up a win in his inaugural Crimson Tide meet, taking the 200 backstroke title with a 1:52.22
Junior BJ Hornikel pushed his dual meet winning streak in the 100 freestyle into its third year, taking first with a 45.35. He also won the 200 freestyle, posting a 1:41.11. Junior Cameron Conners also picked up a pair of wins, turning in a time of 57.43 to win the 100 breaststroke and a 2:07.53 to win the 200 breaststroke.
Senior Anestis Arampatzis won the 200 butterfly with a 1:50.62, junior Vlad Caciuc posted a time of 21.21 to win the 50 freestyle and junior Andrew Wrist won the men's 200 IM, with a time of 1:54.76. Junior Jake Carloni posted a score of 307.13 to win the 1-meter board.
The lone senior on the women's roster, Jenna Gallo won the women's 500 and 1000 freestyles, posting times of 5:07.35 and 10:26.09, respectively. All-American and 2012 Olympian Kristel Vourna won both the 100 and 200 butterfly to get her junior season underway, turning in times of 55.91 and 2:03.44. Kaylin Burchell, who earned Southeastern Conference All-Freshman honors last season, won both the 100 and 200 breaststroke to open her sophomore year, touching at 1:04.85 and 2:20.73.
Junior Stephanie Kinsey grabbed top honors in the 100 backstroke with a 57.22 while junior Lauren Piper won the 200 individual medley after posting a 2:08.81. Junior Paige McCleary won the 1-meter diving event with a score of 273.53 while sophomore Lisa Bogosian won the 3-meter event after scoring 306.98 points.
Katheryne Muth, who redshirted last season, won her first race in an Alabama suit, taking first in the 200 freestyle with a 1:56.25. A trio of freshmen women – Justine Panian, Brittany Gilbert and Michele Rielly – picked up individual victories in their first UA meet. Panian won the 50 freestyle with a 23.98, Gilbert won the 100 freestyle after touching the wall at 53.48 and Rielly won the 200 backstroke with a 2:05.57.
The Tide closed out the meet by winning the men's and women's 400 freestyle relays. Vourna, Panian, Kinsey and Muth won the women's race with a time of 3:33.71 while Hornikel and Caciuc combined with senior Jake Reynolds and Shirey to post a 3:06.67.
Alabama returns to action next Friday at Auburn starting at 1 p.m. in the James E. Martin Aquatic Center for the Tide's first road and Southeastern Conference competition of the season.
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