Tide falls to Kentucky, looks toward postseason

NiCarla Friend

The Alabama women’s swimming and diving team matched up against the University of Kentucky in the Crimson Tide’s first dual meet of the season on Saturday in the aquatic center. While the Crimson Tide’s men’s team finished with a win, scoring 166 points over the Kentucky’s 150, the women were two points shy of victory with a score of 148 to the Wildcats’ 150.

“I mean, we’ve all been training really hard for the past few weeks because we’re going to be coming up on resting for conference, so I think we were all pretty tired,” swimmer Maggie Zblewski said. “I was happy with my personal performance as well as the team’s. I think there were some areas that we could’ve made up, but I think that we fought a good fight.”

Olympian Agustina de Giovanni gave the women a first-place finish in the 1000-yard freestyle when she finished wit a time of 10:06.82. Jenna Gallo and Shannon Van Hoy both helped Alabama gain points in the same event by finishing third (10:11.51) and fifth (10:24.79), respectively. De Giovanni also placed first in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:04.41.

Suzanne Schwee finished first in the 200-yard butterfly with in 2:02.51. Kacey Weddle was the next to finish for the Tide when she placed third in the event with a time of 2:04.28.

The Tide claimed the first four spots in the one-meter diving. Carrie Dragland scored the highest with 2:69.48, Lauren Dunn came in second with 2:48.85, and Elizabeth Hughes and Olivia Covey placed third and fourth respectively with times of 2:48.03 and 2:42.63.

Kelsie Ludolph led the Tide in the 100-yard freestyle when she finished first with a time of 52.40. Maggie Zblewski did the same when she finished first in the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:21.38. Other first-place winners for the Tide were Hannah Brinks in the 100-yard butterfly (55.33), Carrie Dragland in the 3-meter diving (3:09.38) and Suzanne Schwee in the 200-yard individual medley (2:07.64).

“Diving, again, was a top for us, but then you look at, you know, Agustina [de Giovanni] had nice swims in the 1000 and then to come right back and swim in that 100 breast stroke; she did a nice job there,” head coach Eric McIlquham said. “Kelsie Ludolph picking up her first collegiate win ever in the 100 free[style]… Suzanne Schwee in the 200 [butter]fly and Hannah Brinks in the [100-yard butterfly] – those were all pretty good swims for us.”

The Crimson Tide faces New Orleans in its senior meet this weekend in the UA aquatic center, but de Giovanni said she is looking forward to the two meets in Athens, Ga., following that, the first a matchup with Georgia and South Carolina, followed by the SEC Championships hosted by Georgia.

“Next time we have the senior meet, but that shouldn’t be hard because we’re better than the team that is coming in,” de Giovanni said.

“But the following weekend is Georgia, [who] is No. 1 in the country, and the guy’s are in the top 10 of the country, so that’s going to be hard, but it’s good racing. They have good breaststrokers, and personally it’s a good race environment for me, and we’re going to the SEC there in February, so it’s good to race there and get to know the pool and stuff.”