The Southeastern Conference men’s showdown between No. 12 Alabama and No. 16 Tennessee was a nail-biter. The two-day meet came down to the competition’s last race: the 400-meter freestyle relay.
Down by three points going into the relay, Alabama’s team of Alex Gray, Crews Wellford, Robert Howard and Kristian Gkolomeev touched in 3:25.30, taking the race by over four seconds. Final score: Alabama 164.5, Tennessee 154.5.
“It’s fun when we’ve been racing hard for two days and then it all comes down to the very last event,” Alabama head coach Dennis Pursley said in a press release. “It doesn’t get more exciting than that.”
The No. 13 Tennessee women did not have nearly as much trouble with No. 21 Alabama, winning 199-120. The Volunteers won each women’s relay at the meet by over a second.
Tennessee’s Sam McHugh led all men’s swimmers with 29 individual points. The sophomore won the 200-meter butterfly (2:04.02), 400-meter individual medley (4:30.60) and 200-meter individual medley (2:05.94). He also took fourth place in the 200-meter backstroke with a time of 2:06.16.
Maddy Tegner was the highest scoring woman. The Volunteer junior racked up 27 points, taking first place in the 200-meter butterfly (2:16.06), 800-meter freestyle (9:04.28) and 400-meter freestyle (4:22.42).
Mia Nonnenberg led the Alabama women, scoring 25 individual points. The sophomore was victorious in two events: the 200-meter individual medley (2:20.10) and 400-meter individual medley (4:50.96). She also finished second in the 800-meter freestyle (9:08.91) and third in the 200-meter freestyle (2:05.47).
Christopher Reid led the charge for the Crimson Tide men, scoring 19 points. Reid placed first in the both 100-meter backstroke (56.76) and 200-meter backstroke (2:04.37). The sophomore also finished fifth in the 200-meter individual medley (2:11.00) and helped the Crimson Tide to a win in the 400-meter medley relay.
Tennessee and Alabama both swim again on Jan. 23. The Volunteers take on Georgia and the Crimson Tide will square off with Georgia Tech.
Alabama was initially set to race Birmingham-Southern this weekend, but the meet was cancelled due to malfunctioning equipment at the Birmingham CrossPlex.