The Alabama swimming and diving team will travel to Georgia Tech this Friday for its upcoming invitational, hoping to overcome the difficult situations it has previously faced. After a loss to LSU, the Crimson Tide hopes rest and long-term goals will overcome the target on its back.
Swimming blogs and major universities have all set their eyes on the Tide, pegging it as the team to beat. After a great fall recruiting season, the team knows all eyes are on it; however, it isn’t worried. The Tide wants to swim through the competition toward the conference championships.
Head coach Dennis Pursley knows how important it is to focus on the competition, but also to improve certain aspects of training in order to achieve long-term goals.
“Our focus right now is not so much on the one-loss record, though obviously we want to win as many as we can and score as many points that we can, but we’re kind of outgunned against a lot of the competition,” Pursley said. “That’s kind of exacerbated by the fact that they are really pointing towards us to where we’re kind of setting our sights more long term.”
The Georgia Tech Invitational will hopefully show the Tide’s strengths and improvements it has made since its last meet nearly a month ago. The three-day meet will consist of multiple individual events as well as relays. Divers will also compete in the meet.
Strategically speaking, the Tide is trying something new this season, hoping to decrease event times. Instead of continuing its heavy training regiment, Alabama has been resting and taking it easy for the past two days. Pursley is using this short-term process to help raise Alabama’s standings.
“This is the first time we are doing a little bit of rest before a competition,” Pursley said. “We’re backing off the heavy training basically. It’s not anywhere close to a full rest for peak performance, but we’re hoping it’s going to be enough that we can see significant improvement from anything they have done in the season up until this point.”
After a series of previous injuries that are compromising some of the Tide’s best swimmers, rest may be the best option. The top female swimmer and one of the top male swimmers are out due to a concussion and muscle tear. Limiting their time in the pool, the Tide knows these compromises could be crucial but is optimistic it can pull a win.
“We have had a lot of frustrating fluke injuries, as everybody does, but that’s life,” Pursley said. “It is what it is; you just do the best you can and move on with it. That aside, I think we have been progressing as a team as far as the training is going, and I expect to see that reflected in the results this weekend.”