The collegiate swimming season kicks off this Friday at 4pm as The University of Alabama Crimson Tide hosts the Delta State University Statesmen at the Alabama Aquatic Center. These two teams have faced each other in the opening meet of the collegiate season in two out of the last three years.
Despite quite a bit of a shake up in the roster since the 2015-2016 season, Alabama still returns 13 All-Americans from last year’s squad. The men’s team finished 6th at the NCAA Championships, and the women’s team finished 28th. Former NCAA sprint champion Kristian Gkolomeev has opted not to return for his senior season, but other big names can still be found on their men’s roster, including Luke Kaliszak, Conor Oslin, Anton McKee, and Pavel Romanov. Meanwhile, the women’s squad returns Bridget Blood (59.05 in the 100 BR), Mia Nonnenberg, and Temarie Tomley. A total of 12 freshman will also be competing for the Crimson Tide for the first time (6 for the men, 6 for the women). See Alabama’s press release on the season-opening meet here. You can also find Alabama’s full schedule for the 2016-2017 season here.
Angie Nicoletta has also been recently named as one of Alabama’s assistant coaches, replacing Lisa Ebeling who has departed to become the head coach at Northern Colorado.
Delta State is a Division II school from Cleveland, Mississippi, and is a member of the Gulf South Conference. The Statesmen were last year’s NSISC champions, and the Lady Statesmen finished as the runners-up at that same meet. Current sophomore Mattia Schirru from Italy was last year’s NSISC Swimmer of the Year, and was named a 6-time NCAA All-American during his freshman campaign. He also holds school records in the 50, 100, and 200 Freestyle. Distance swimmer Melanie Tombers leads the Lady Statesmen after earning three individual All-American honors at last year’s NCAA Championships. See Delta State’s press release on the season-opening meet here.