The Crimson Tide swimming and diving team will face Georgia and South Carolina at Saturday’s dual meet. This will be the last meet of the season before conference meets start.
After falling short against Missouri two weeks ago, Alabama is ready for the teams and feeling confident about swimming against the two schools, Coach Dennis Pursley said. He plans to use this meet as a stepping stone for the upcoming conference meets.
“We’re starting to lighten the workload a little bit, but now we are starting to see some response,” Pursley said. “Hopefully, we will get a little taste of what to expect next month in the championships. It’s another step in the direction we would like to go.”
Since the start of the year, the Tide has been focused on the postseason, which starts with next month’s Southeastern Conference Championships. Saturday’s meet, which features two tough SEC opponents, will serve as something of a test run for the upcoming conference and NCAA championships. The tri-meet will also serve as a showcase for those swimmers and divers on the cusp of making it onto the conference team.
Each team is allowed a limited number of swimmers and divers on its roster at the conference and NCAA Championships. While several athletes have earned their spot, there are several others on the bubble and Pursley said it will be a hard decision on his part for whom to pick.
“It’s nice to go into the championship coming off of a fast swim and a good meet,” Pursley said. “The closer you are to the championships the more of a priority it is in the season.”
As the end of the seasonal meets draws to a close, Alabama swimmers have been lightening their training using a tapering technique they hope will bring them better results in this meet and ones to come.
“We’re allowing them to recover from the heavy workouts that they did in the weeks and months preceding the taper,” Pursley said. “We’re just starting that process, so it’s not complete. We’re not going to see the breakthrough performances that we hope to see, but it’s kind of like popcorn popping. One kernel pops here and one kernel pops there. It’s slow at first, but in the end, if it works right, they’re all firing and ready to go.”
The upcoming meet will also be both senior day and the Power of Pink event for the Tide. Both themes are contributing to the excitement of the team.
“I think they are cautiously excited,” Pursley said. “There’s a little bit of reservation. I think subconsciously they don’t want to get too excited, but by the same token, this is a dual meet, so this has a little more significance. We will have the band here and kind of jazz it up a bit, so hopefully it will be a little bit more charged and exciting and a fun environment.”
The dual meet kicks off on Saturday at 11 a.m. at the UA Aquatic Center.