Senior Day will not distract swimmers from upcoming championshipsBy Tyler Waldrep | 01/22/2016 1:19pm
The Alabama swim team will face off against Georgia Tech. in Tuscaloosa on Saturday, Jan. 23. CW | Layton Dudley
The Alabama men’s swimming team trailed Tennessee by three points when team captain Chris Wellford and his three teammates prepared for a meet-deciding 400m freestyle relay.
When Wellford got out of the pool after the relay he did so as a winner not only of the relay, but of the meet itself, as Alabama edged Tennessee by a single point.
“It’s really always a morale booster when you beat an SEC team and it’s like the last race and you know we got to win this race to win [the meet],” Wellford said.
On Saturday, Wellford, a senior, will return to the pool for one last home meet. The thought of completing his career at Alabama makes him sad, but it also fills him with pride.
With injuries, classes and homesickness (athletes typically get to spend less time at home than other students) most find it difficult to compete all four years.
“I’m really blessed to be able to finish all four years and I know the rest of the seniors are too,” Wellford said. “We’re just happy where we are and I would never trade it for anything in the world.”
Wellford might be the team captain, but he couldn’t lead this team without help from fellow seniors, Brian Westlake and Brett Walsh.
“They’ve stepped up in many ways, maybe not when they were juniors and sophomores, but now knowing that it’s there last go around, they want to do everything right,” Wellford said.
On Saturday, in addition to raising awareness for breast cancer in its Power of Pink meet, the teams will take time to recognize the seniors. Coach Dennis Pursley said he doesn’t think Senior Day will distract any of the seniors from the upcoming championship season.
“[It’s] kind of a rushed celebration that’s not what the seniors deserve, but it’s how they would want it [with championships still ahead],” Pursley said. “They will have a special senior night after everything is done.”