LEXINGTON, Kentucky, January 15. THE Alabama men's swimming and diving team carried its undefeated streak into the New Year with a 178-122 win over Kentucky in Lexington, Ky., while the Crimson Tide women fell just short of the Wildcats, 152-148.
"We had some good swims on both sides," UA head coach Eric McIlquham said. "It was our first dual meet in quite some time and there was some rust, some things we need to work on, but overall it was a good meet."
Alabama's men are now 6-0 overall this season and 5-0 in Southeastern Conference competition adding the win over the Wildcats to victories over Auburn, LSU and Tennessee. The Tide women are 0-6 overall and 0-5 in the SEC.
"BJ (Hornikel) remains undefeated in the 100 freestyle, while Catalin (Cosma), Alex (Coci) and Joe (Ziegler) all won two races each to help us stay undefeated on the year," McIlquham said.
Senior Catalin Cosma got the winning underway for the Tide men, taking the 1000 freestyle by more than four seconds with a 9:27.97. Cosma also won the 500 freestyle, out-touching Kentucky's Travis Green by three-hundredths of a second. Freshman BJ Hornikel won his third consecutive 100 freestyle title in dual meet competition, touching the wall with a 45.17, a full second ahead of the field.
The Tide swept the top three spots in the 200 butterfly, led by sophomore Anestis Arampatzis who touched the wall at 1:49.53 followed by junior Oliver Basse (1:51.94) and junior Kyle weeks (1:52.49). Freshman Cameron Conners won the 200 breaststroke with a 2:05.73.
Junior Joe Zielger and sophomore Brandon Lowe took first and second in the 200 freestyle at 1:39.84 and 1:40.83 respectively. Ziegler went on the win the 200 backstroke with a 1:50.41. The Tide also went one-two in the 100 backstroke with freshman Alex Coci posting a 49.90 followed closely by senior Alan Axford at 50.06. Coci and Arampatzis took first and second in the 100 butterfly, touching at 49.20 and 49.84 respectively.
The Tide closed out the meet by winning the 400 freestyle when Coci, Hornikel, freshman Vlad Caciuc and Ziegler clocked a 3:01.11, almost two seconds ahead of Kentucky's "A" relay.
"In the women's meet we actually took the lead there at the end, but we just didn't have enough bodies to finish it off," McIlquham said. "But we had some strong performances across the board. Kristel Vourna won two events with some fast swims and Paige McCleary grabbed the first win of her career off the three-meter board. Kate Shannon (Gray) won two events and Jenna Gallo, who dealt with some injury and illness problems in the fall came back with a pair of wins today."
On the women's side of the slate, freshman Jenna Gallo gave the Tide a distance sweep, taking first in the 500 and 1000 freestyles, clocking a 10:15.11 and 4:59.46. The 500 freestyle was a battle, going down to the wire with Gallo getting her hand on the wall less than a quarter of a second ahead of Kentucky's Kelly Titus.
In another race that was almost too close to call, freshman Kristel Vourna won the 50 freestyle by a hundredth of a second with a 23.34. She won her next race, the 100 butterfly, by a much larger margin, posting a 54.35 to finish more than a second ahead of Kentucky's Mandy Myers.
Senior Kate Shannon Gray won the 200 breaststroke with a 2:19.11 and the 200 individual medley with a 2:04.78. Junior Suzanne Schwee was nearly two seconds ahead of the filed in the 200 butterfly, taking first with a 2:03.12. Freshman Paige McCleary won the three-meter diving event with a score of 291.68.
Alabama returns home next Saturday for Senior Day against Florida State before closing out its regular season the next weekend against Georgia and South Carolina in Columbia, S.C.
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