Alabama Crimson Tide Set to Welcome 14 Men, 14 Women in the Fall

The University of Alabama announced the addition of five women (Flóra Molnár, Julia Kukla, Sezin Eligul, Nicole Smith, and Tori van Buskirk) and one man (Max Kennedy-Till) to their incoming roster for 2017-18 yesterday, bringing the total of incoming athletes to 28 (14 men and 14 women). “This is an extraordinary class, one that, especially on the women’s side, has the potential to take us to the next level on the national scene,” UA head coach Dennis Pursley said. “We’re excited to have them join the Crimson Tide and we can’t wait to have them on campus.”

Nicole Smith, who hails from Hoover, Alabama, attended Hoover High School. A backstroke specialist, she also swims year-round for Phillip Wood at Birmingham Swim League. Smith competed in the 50/100/200 backstrokes at the 2017 NCSA Spring Junior National Championship and was a multiple-event finalist at the Southeastern LSC Short Course Championships. Her top SCY events are:

  • 200 back – 201.50
  • 100 back – 56.98
  • 50 back – 27.32

Tori van Buskirk, of Oviedo, Florida, graduated from Oviedo High School where she was a two-year FHSAA 4A State Championship Finalist. During her senior season she placed 13th in the 500 free and 15th in the 100 back. Van Buskirk also swims year-round with Charlie Rose and Joe Auer at Blue Dolfins. At the recent Florida Swimming LSC Short Course Championships, she competed in the 100/500 free, 100/200 back, and 50 fly. Her top SCY times are:

  • 50 back – 28.18
  • 100 back – 58.70
  • 200 back – 2:07.94
  • 500 free – 5:04.48

In addition, divers Robby Costine and Austin Rettinghouse and swimmer Richard Miksi will join the Tide’s men’s team. Costine graduated from Frostproof High School in Florida, then dove for Indian River State College where he was the 2016 NJCAA 1-meter champion and the 3-meter runner-up. Rettinghouse went to Worland High School in New York before heading to University of Wyoming. A first-team all-WAC conference diver, Rettinghouse will transfer to Alabama in the fall. Miksi is a breaststroker from Szeged, Hungary. He was a top-20 finisher at the 2016 European Junior Swimming Championships, and his top LCM times include:

  • 50M breast – 29.53
  • 100M breast – 1:02.64
  • 200M breast – 2:16.82

Incoming men:

Incoming women:

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4 years ago

14 x 2 = 28 Freshman PLUS Soph, Juniors and Seniors = Over 100 team members! Wow.

Rick Allred
Reply to  Dawgpaddle
4 years ago

The two male divers will be classified as Juniors since they are transfers who have already competed at other universities for two years.

Roll Tide
4 years ago

A huge freshman class to replace to huge departing senior class. It seems like Denny Pursley is keeping Alabama on track. Hopefully the Tide will continue to rise!

4 years ago

Kullmann, Kukla, Molnar & Eliguel are pretty good Euro catches. Lot of talent.

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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