WILMINGTON, North Carolina, September 28. TENNESSEE officially began its era as a combined men's and women's swimming and diving program Friday with a pair of season-opening victories over UNC Wilmington at Seahawk Natatorium.
The women defeated the Seahawks 195-99, while the men claimed a 175-118 victory against a UNC Wilmington team that has won 11 consecutive Colonial Athletic Association titles.
“I was really impressed by the level of focus and competitiveness that both the men and women had today,” Tennessee head coach Matt Kredich said.
The day belonged to the Tennessee freshmen as 23 newcomers made their collegiate debuts, including 14 men. Eight of those freshmen won their first career races with Ben Miller and Harper Bruens each winning a pair of freestyle races.
Miller, a distance specialist Raleigh, N.C., won the 1000-yard freestyle (9 minutes, 42.85 seconds) and the 500 freestyle (4:40.51). Bruens, from Boca Raton, Fla., took the 200 freestyle (1:54.91) and 100 freestyle (52.01).
Additional freshmen winners for the men included Gustav Aberg (200 freestyle, 1:43.35), Ryan Signorin (200 butterfly, 1:53.27) and Sean Lehane (200 backstroke, 1:48.96). Besides Bruens, addition freshmen champions on the women's side were Madison Hahn (100 backstroke, 57.55), Amanda Carner (200 backstroke, 2:02.93) and Mary Griffith (500 freestyle, 5:08.67).
“We put freshmen in a position we can see their strengths in competition and also what they need to work on,” Kredich said. “I think we found we've got some pretty good freshmen.”
Carner not only won her first race, but she also set a Seahawk Natatorium pool record in the 200 backstroke. Senior Kelsey Floyd posted a pool record as well, breaking her own record-setting time from a season ago by nearly two seconds on her way to winning the 1000 freestyle in 10:08.23.
For the Vols, senior Ed Walsh swept the sprint events by winning the 50 and 100 freestyle, and versatile sophomore Tristan Slater took first in the 100 and 200 breaststroke. Sophomore Molly Hannis was a two-race winner for the Lady Vols by touching the wall first the 100 breaststroke and 100 butterfly.
“Both Dave (Parrington) and I feel the meet was a good reflection of what we've put into practice and what he haven't yet,” Kredich said. “This competition shows us what we need to work on moving forward.”
Tennessee cruised with a 1-2-3 finish in all four diving events.
Redshirt junior Tori Lamp, the reigning SEC Diver of the Year, won both the women's 1-meter and 3-meter competitions. Senior Jodie McGroarty placed second in both events, followed by freshman Samantha Lera in her career debut.
“It's very exciting for her to have her first competition as a Lady Vol, and she carried herself extremely well,” Parrington said.
For the men, senior Brent Sterling won the 1-meter springboard and sophomore Mauricio Robles took first in the 3-meter.
“The guys had a good competition and it was also quite spirited,” Parrington said. “I was pleased with their performances.”
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