In his pre-meet press conference, Auburn head coach Brett Hawke breaks down the reality of the competitive Southeastern Conference (SEC), but also highlights his team’s positives heading into the conference championship, which begins tomorrow at Auburn University.
“We have the SEC Championships here for the first time in six years, I believe, so it’s going to be a very hard-fought championship. Georgia’s women are the defending National Champions and have one of the best teams in the country again this year and Florida’s men are the defending SEC Champions for two years in a row now, so the SEC is very deep in swimming again this year. I think it’s the deepest conference in the country and a lot of quality athletes, a lot of quality swimmers. There is going to be some really fast swimming this week and really excited to get the championship going tomorrow [Tuesday].”
While acknowledging that the SEC is certainly one of the deepest in the country, Hawke points to two sophomores on his squad, Joe Patching and Allyx Purcell, on whom the Tigers can depend for relay and individual points. Hawke says, “Joe Patching is just one of our sophomores who’s been just competing hard all year and had a great freshman year as well. He’s one of those guys you can put in any race and you know that you’re going to get a great effort and compete all the way to the finish.” As for Purcell, her head coach commented that “she’s just got a lot of speed and you can put her in any relay situation and she is going to perform really well. Individually, she’s right up there with the best sprinters in the country.”
Hawke continues with comments on what it means to host the championship at the Auburn pool and even flashes a little of his own bling as a sign of what the Tigers hope to accomplish as a team this week.