Tide begins season with victoryBy Matthew Wilson | 09/14/2014 11:24pm
Junior Abbas Qali won the 100 buttery for his first collegiate win. UA Athletics
The women swept the competition with a score of 216-79, and the men picked up a 199-98 victory.
“There was some good tough racing, even in races where we weren’t being challenged,” coach Dennis Pursley said. “They didn’t just roll over and swim through it. They really attacked it.”
The Crimson Tide started strong, sweeping the 400 medley relays. For the women, Kaylin Burchell, Emma Saunders, Bailey Scott and Kristel Vourna picked up the win. For the men, NCAA champion 50 freestyle Kristian Gkolomeev, Connor Oslin, Pavel Romanov and Brett Walsh took the victory.
Walsh said the warmup before the meet helped the team find its confidence in the water and beat Delta State.
“We haven’t raced in a while, so I was a little rusty to start out with,” he said.
Looking forward, Walsh said the team is focused on building a dynamic.
“The main focus is going to be on our transitions as a whole, our race finishes and doing what we can to work ourselves better and make the team better,” Walsh said.
Saunders, Burchell and Leah Bird swept the backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly events, respectively. Bonnie Macdonald picked up wins in the 1,000 and 500 freestyles.
Saunders said she enjoyed the sense of camaraderie among her teammates.
“It was great. I’m sure you heard everyone out there cheering,” she said. “That was very different from practice.”
For the men, Romanov picked up the wins in the breaststroke events. Junior Abbas Qali beat out the competition in the 100 butterfly for his first collegiate win.
Pursley said he has high hopes for the end of the season.
“We would hope since we started ahead of where we started last year, we’ll finish ahead of where we finished last year,” he said.