The ’19-’20 NCAA Season is Here: Alabama Wins in Coley Stickels’ Crimson Debut

Alabama vs. Delta State

  • September 13, 2019
  • Cleveland, Mississippi
  • 25y dual meet format
  • Full Meet Results (PDF)
  • Team Scoring
    • Women: Alabama 204-Delta State 91 (exhibition aided)
    • Men: Alabama 186-Delta State 109 (exhibition aided)

The Coley Stickels era began on Friday in Cleveland, Mississippi with a season-opening sweep for Alabama against Division II Delta State. This meet has become a traditional marker for the beginning of the collegiate competition season, as it has been the country’s first dual meet for several years in a row now.

In spite of the sweep, Alabama head coach Coley Stickels called the meet a “wakeup call” for some of his athletes.

“This meet was all about getting a starting point and now we just have to go out and get better from here,” Stickels said of his team’s early effort. “Obviously, it’s very early in the season and we have a lot of work ahead of us, and while the energy on the deck was good and we got up and competed even after some hard weeks of practice, we will need to swim at a much higher level to be competitive in the SEC. We made some technical mistakes that have to be cleaned up. This was a learning experience for the team as a whole and a wakeup call for some to realize we aren’t where we need to be.”

Stickels’ reputation as a sprint coach was already felt directly via a 1-2-3-4-5 finish int he girls’ 50 free. That was led by sophomore transfer Morgan Scott, who first went to Indiana to train with Stickels, and now has followed her coach to Alabama as well. Scott swam a 23.52 in an early-season 50 last year.

Flora Molnar finished 2nd in that race in 23.62, which is about a quarter-of-a-second slower than she as at this meet last season.

The 100 free saw more year-over-year success. The winner, sophomore Kalia Antoniou, swam 51.49, which is .34 seconds faster than she was in last year’s opener; while Allie Surrency dropped 2 seconds from her season-opening time to swim 51.69 for 2nd place.

In total, Alabama won 27 out of 32 events at the meet, and went 1-2 in 23 of those races. That includes the first 7 races of the meet.

Zane Waddell, the 2019 World Champion and World University Games champion in the 50 meter backstroke, is the Alabama men’s top returning swimmer. He won the 100 free in 44.92 and finished 3rd in the 100 fly in 49.33. That 100 free time was right on target with where he led off last season, though the 100 fly was about half-a-second slower.

For Delta State, whose men were 2nd and women 12th at the 2019 NCAA Division II National Championship meet, came away with some big positives as well. Italian-born junior Giulio Brugnoni won the men’s 100 back for the 3rd-straight season in this series, topping the table in 48.28. That was almost 2-and-a-half seconds clear of the runner-up, Alabama’s Matthew Menke, as the Crimson Tide had their top backstrokers (including All-American Zane Waddell) entered elsewhere.

Brugnoni was the NCAA runner-up last season in the 50 free, finished 5th in the 100 fly, and finished 9th in the 100 back.

Brugnoni’s win was followed by another for Delta State in the very next event, the women’s 100 yard breaststroke, where Madison Lavoie won in 1:04.75. She swept the breaststroke races, later winning the 200 in 2:19.07.

Alabama will see a big step-up in intensity for their 2nd meet of the season, which will be October 4th against Georgia. That meet will be swum in Birmingham at the Birmingham CrossPlex. Delta State’s next meet will be on October 5th against Rhodes College.

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1 year ago

1:22.09 in the medley relay?

The Ready Room
Reply to  Who
1 year ago

Yeah I was wondering the same. Doesn’t make sense given the rest of the results… I wonder what the splits were?

Reply to  The Ready Room
1 year ago

Meet Mobile says :22.1, :24.7, :21.5 & :13.6. That last 50 from DiSette was really fast!

Reply to  Who
1 year ago

13 on the freestyle leg

Reply to  Who
1 year ago

Probably a malfunction

1 year ago

Good to have Coley back in the SEC

1 year ago

Let the Coley era begin!!!

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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