Men’s and women’s teams finish fifth at SECs

Marquavius Burnett

The Alabama’s men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams competed in the Southeastern Conference Championships in Athens, Ga., over the weekend, and both teams earned fifth place.

They performed well on the last day of the meet to gain some ground on the competition. Head coach Eric Mcllquham said he was happy with the team’s performance over the weekend.

“We had some good swims,” Mcllquham said. “We had some kids step up for us, and our kids who have been performing well all year for us shined as well.”

Alabama finished with 272 points on the women’s side of the meet. The fifth place finish was one place better than last year and was the best finish for the women’s team in the SEC Championships since taking fourth in 2003. Georgia won the women’s championship with 824.5 points. Mcllquham also said that the team meet his expectations.

“That was our highest women’s finish since 2003,” he said. “We did that without arguably our best girl. Every girl scored in some way. That was also a first for us.”

Another high point for the women’s side was the diving of sophomore Carrie Dragland. She finished third with 306.35 points.

“They always compete to win, but if you miss one dive here or there, then you can come up short,” Mcllquham said. “It just shows the depth of our conference as well.”

Alabama’s men earned another fifth place finish, which was the same from a year ago, scoring 340 points. Auburn won the men’s title with 784 points, just beating out Florida, which finished with 765 points. The men had a few star performers, too.

Senior Mark Randall took home the bronze medal. “He placed second in the best race of the weekend,” Mcllquham said. “He finished third in the mile and posted some of his best times.”

Other standouts for the men were Aaron Fleshner and Adam Booher.

“Aaron and Adam really did a nice job on the diving end of things,” Mcllquham said. “They gave us a great one-two punch all the way down the line.”

“Adam was a finalist in all three boards,” he said. “Aaron was also a finalist.”

Mcllquham said that the Tide can learn a lot from this experience.

“It is such a high level of play in our league,” he said. “Outside of the NCAA, it is the most competitive meet we have.”

Mcllquham also compared the experience to the football team’s SEC Championship game.

“It is like the football team being in the Georgia Dome again this year,” he said. “The first year they were there it was all new, but this year it was business. That is how it was for most of our players who were here last year.”