The Crimson White

Swimming prepares for season opener

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RJ Nealon, Staff Writer

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While in Tuscaloosa, during the fall, football gets much of the attention. However, Alabama swimming looks ahead to open its season and improve on things from the past.

For the sixth year in a row, Alabama will face Delta State to start the 2018-19 swim season. The meet for the Crimson Tide begins a schedule that includes four home meets and four away meets throughout the regular season.

“The first meet of the season does two things, one it gives us a look at the freshman for future more challenging competition at Ohio State,” coach Dennis Pursley said. “Most train with us during the summer, but others go home, so it gives us an opportunity to see where we are.”

Evan Heldman and Sarah Helm, both the men’s and women’s team captains, are looking to keep a positive impact growing not only competitively but also around campus. They want to keep the culture alive.

“We want to make sure we keep a positive impact on campus,” Heldman said. “We want to make sure we hold everyone to a high standard.”

During the summer, Heldman interned with Bank of America, so his days consisted of early practices before going to work.

“I was in Charlotte for an internship, so I had to get up early and go practice,” Heldman said. “It wasn’t traditional, but it was a lot of good experiences.”

Last season, Heldman posted career bests in the 100 [45.38] and 200 [1:37.74] freestyle during the preliminary stages at the SEC Championships. Each year he gets better and better, now he looks to be a leader in more ways than just swimming.

“As a captain, I am working a lot with Robert Howard,” Heldman said. “We have 12 freshmen, and so the team is pretty young. We have formed a lot of team goals with the seniors.”

On the women’s side of the team, Sarah Helm is the team captain and is ready to make a high impact on those surrounding her.

She like many others stayed in Tuscaloosa during the summer.

“I stayed in Tuscaloosa and worked at the swim camp, so I spent a lot of time at the pool,” Helm said. “I also competed in two meets to try and make the national team.”

Although she didn’t make the team, she made the most of the opportunities. She was a championship finalist at the USA National Championships in Irvine, California, taking eighth place with a career-best 22.17 in the 50-meter freestyle. She also got another career best with 48.67 in the finals of the 100-meter freestyle at the USA National Championships setting a new school record in the process.

With that experience under her name, she is looking to take a step forward in her swimming this season.

“Personally, I want to be able to go to conference meets and be able to score points,” Helm said. “I’ve been able to go before but haven’t been able to score points. I also want to make it on a relay team.”

Alabama will host Delta State Friday, September 14, for the Power of Pink Meet. Diving takes place first at 2 pm and swimming at 4:30 pm.

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Swimming prepares for season opener