Courtesy: Alabama Athletics
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The hours spent at the Alabama Aquatic Center – the dives, the yards, the practices, the meets – have all been piling up for the Alabama swimming and diving teams’ 14 seniors and this weekend the last of those, the competition part of their AQC tenure, comes to an end.
“To compete this weekend for the last time at home is bittersweet,” senior co-captain Evan Heldman said. “I am sad to be hanging up my cap and goggles soon but I am thrilled to be finishing the season strong in our own house, repping the A with my team one last time before we head into the championship season.”
The Crimson Tide men face FSU while the women will take on the Seminoles and the Miami Hurricanes in a double dual. The meet will be split over two days, with the diving taking place on Friday, starting at 10 a.m., while the swimming events and Senior Day recognition get underway Saturday at 9:45 a.m.
“It is a little bit surreal to think that this is the last time I will compete at home,” senior and women’s team co-captain Sarah Helm said. “I feel like I have only been here a year. There are definitely some mixed emotions about finishing my swimming career. The ‘final’ part of final home meet still hasn’t set in and it is hard to imagine myself as one of the seniors running through our team tunnel on Saturday.”
Heldman and Helm will join with fellow seniors Christian Arseneau, Knox Auerbach, Laurent Bams, Caroline Beene, Robby Costine, Robert Howard, Katie Kelsoe, Justine Macfarlane, Emma Murray, Nicole Raicik, Ayanna Woods and Marian Yurchishin in celebrating their respective collegiate careers on Saturday.
“This has been a great class,” UA head coach Dennis Pursley said. “They’ve helped carry us forward while providing great leadership and are strong examples of our core values of attitude, character and commitment. We look forward to watching them close out their careers on a high note over the coming weeks.”
This year’s seniors have worked diligently to help the program continue to grow and improve each year.
“Each class has a chance to leave a mark on the program during their four years, and I believe ours has been to establish a culture of trust and strong leadership; to inspire those who follow us to strive to be champions not only in the pool but in the classroom and in the community,” Heldman said.
While there is still more than two months left in the season, the seniors’ post-collegiate life is definitely coming up on the horizon.
“While I am really excited for the next chapter in my life, I am going to miss being a part of this team and being able to train with my friends every day,” Helm said. “This senior class has been a lot of fun and super supportive of one another. I have loved getting to train with them each day. We really push one another to be the best we can be. They have truly been a joy and I am excited and honored to compete in this final dual meet with them.”
Odd to have final home meet on January 11. All the best to the swimmers and divers.