Seniors prepare for last home meet against UGABy Mary Grace Showfety | 01/25/2012 11:10pm
The Alabama Crimson Tide swimming and diving team will bid ten seniors adieu on Saturday in its last home meet against the University of Georgia Bulldogs.
The Lady Bulldogs, ranked No. 1 in the country, just won their 77th consecutive home meet, and the men are not far behind – ranking No. 9. Though the Tide will certainly be the underdog, the team is excited to be hosting such a matchup. Kyle Weeks, a senior swimmer and president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, said he is awaiting the arrival of the Bulldogs with anticipation and a positive mindset.
“We all know Georgia’s good, so we just want to come out strong,” Weeks said. “Even though we’re tired and all focused on SECs, we just want to give them a run for their money and compete. We welcome the higher level of competition, and we’re just excited to go against such a good team.”
In his last meet in the Alabama Aquatic Center and Don Gambril Olympic pool, Weeks also acknowledges the sentiment that comes along with the upcoming meet.
“Competing here for the last time means a lot,” Weeks said. “It’s not just the competition experiences I’ve had here. Ninety percent of the time, we’re here in the mornings at 6 a.m., putting in the work when no one can see us. There’s just been a lot of great times with my teammates here, and we’ve sharpened each other as people and as athletes, so it’s a big emotional experience.”
Though the Southeastern Conference Championships are still a few weeks away, senior Ida Persson is excited to use the upcoming meet as preparation for all of the competition the SEC has to offer. However, the Sweden native has faith in her team and believes that together they can finish the regular season as victors.
“I think it’s just great how the team has come together this year, and I think we’ve done a great job cheering for each other.” Persson said. “I hope that we can bring that into this last meet, too.”
Head Coach Eric McIlquham is also looking ahead to the coming weeks of SEC Championships and finally the NCAA Championships, but first, the Tide has to go head-to-head with the Bulldogs.
“It’s just another step of the process in the things we wish to accomplish as a team,” McIlquham said in reference to Saturday’s competition.
Historically, the Tide has had very close races competing against Georgia, and they hope that this meet will be no different, McIlquham said.
The Tide will honor its seniors as they celebrate their time and devotion to the team and will be accompanied by friends and family during Saturday’s meet.