Kredich On Vols Historic SEC Title: “They Weren’t Shy About What They Wanted”

Coming off of the Tennessee women’s first-ever SEC title this past weekend in Auburn, head coach Matt Kredich held a press conference discussing the team’s historic victory.

Early on in the presser, Kredich talked about the mindset the Volunteers came into the season with. Their goal was to win an SEC title, and they weren’t afraid to talk about it.

“From the very beginning of the season, they had their sights set on winning an SEC Championship,” said Kredich, who’s in his 15th season with the program. “It’s been such a fun group to work with all season long because they knew what they wanted. They weren’t shy about saying what they wanted, and they’ve worked relentlessly, essentially to create the opportunity  to win the first-ever championship for Tennessee women’s swimming and diving in the SEC.”

He also looks to last season, when the team came in with a shot to win but came up short after losing some key members.

“Last year we came to the SEC Championships believing we could win, knowing we could win,” he said. “By day two, five of our best swimmers were out of the meet with the flu.

“We came up short last year. That made this group even hungrier. The leaders on our team came into this season feeling like ‘there is nothing going to stop us’.”

Locked in a tight team battle with the Florida Gators, Kredich is quick to recognize that every point mattered in the end. The Vols went on to prevail by just 28.5 points.

“It came down to the last night, the last night was really back and forth with us and Florida,” he said. “When you’re faced with that level of competition, with that much on the line, a lot of different things can happen. And I’m so proud of the team for the way that they essentially rose to the occasion time after time.

Erika Brown was spectacular. She’s an incredible performer, and we had a couple of other individual champions, Meghan Small and Tessa Cieplucha, who were brilliant, but so much of the story comes down to the battles for fifth, and the battles in the B-final and the C-final. Because at the end we had over 1,100 points, and truly every point mattered.”

One of the standout moments for Kredich on that final night was Amanda Nunan‘s performance in the 1650, which he believes was a key turning point in their battle with the Gators.

“Florida had eight swimmers entered in the mile, and I think they ended up scoring six of them,” he said. “When we’re in a team battle, every Tennessee swimmer that beats a Florida swimmer not only scores their points, but knocks that Florida swimmer down a notch. So by Amanda moving past, I think two, three Florida swimmers that were seeded ahead of her, she really dealt them a tough psychological blow. And while they came back from it it also gave our team a huge shot in the arm. And she’s been that for us all season. For her to get a silver medal, that was an extraordinary achievement and really timely.”

On when he first started to believe this group could win the title, Kredich goes back to the 2017-18 campaign.

“It really started a few years ago, when I had an idea of what this particular team would look like,” he said. “I think at the end of their sophomore year, this current senior class went to NCAAs and performed exceptionally well.

“They were young, made some young mistakes, but at the time we had a group of freshman. A group of really big personalities who were really good, not necessarily superstars but really good, I knew that that group, now our current juniors and seniors, we could build something really special with.”

You can watch the full press conference, via Tennessee Athletics on YouTube, below.

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John

What an awesome achievement by the Lady Vols! Kredich is very well spoken on his team and their accomplishments.

GBO

Very well said. Kredich is one best coaches out there. He clearly knows what he is doing and has created a great environment for his team. What an accomplishment for the Lady Vols!

Dabestestman

He is one of the top 20 women’s coaches. What about the men??

Armchair

They need to recruit better on the men’s side. No reason they shouldn’t as Tennessee has long had a very strong program–and wonderful facilities.

Justanarp

An added note from Kredich – diver Grace Cable added critical points, especially the final night in platform finals when Gators had two in finals to Lady Vols one. Reportedly (per Cynthia Potter on broadcast), Grace may have been diving with a broken hand suffered during prelims and insisted on finishing what she started. Lady Vols are a TEAM!

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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