Courtesy: Alabama Athletics
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – In what has become an annual tradition, Alabama swimming and diving opens the 2018-19 season this Friday against Delta State at the Alabama Aquatic Center.
It’s not only the first meet of the season for The Crimson Tide and the Statesmen, it’s also the first collegiate swimming and diving competition of the year. This year’s meet marks the sixth year in a row that the two teams have made the first splash of the NCAA season.
“We’re excited to get going and to stand up and get a competition under our belts before we take on Ohio State in Columbus later this month,” Dennis Pursley, in his seventh season as Alabama’s head coach, said. “Even though it’s very early in the training cycle, we’re looking forward to checking in and seeing where everyone is right now.”
The diving portion of the meet will get underway at 2 p.m., while team introductions and the swimming events get underway at 4:30 p.m. Admission is free. Fans can also follow live results on RollTide.com and watch the live video stream via the WatchESPN app and WatchESPN.com.
Alabama returns seven All-Americans to this year’s roster, including seniors Katie Kelsoe and Justin Macfarlane and sophomores Leonie Kullmann and Flora Molnar for the women and seniors Robert Howard and Laurent Bams along with junior Zane Waddell for the men. The Tide added 26 freshmen – 14 women and 12 men – to a roster that totals 73 swimmers and divers.
“An early meet like this is particularly good for the rookies, giving them a chance to see what a dual meet looks like and to start to acclimate to collegiate competition,” Pursley said. “It’s also an opportunity for the staff to evaluate how they react in a competitive environment.”
Friday will also be the kick-off for Alabama Athletics’ Power of Pink slate of events, which helps raise awareness for the fight against breast cancer. The Tide women will be wearing pink caps in support of the initiative that began on the Alabama campus in 2005.