Undefeated swimming, diving team prepares for SEC play, eyes title

The Auburn men's and women's swimming and diving team is ready to dive into the Georgia Invitational Meet starting Friday, Nov. 30.

The team remains undefeated after beating Kentucky Friday, Nov. 2, with the women earning a 212.5-87.5 win and the men a 205.5-94.5 win.

At the Georgia meet, the team is scheduled to compete against California, Indiana, UVA and Georgia.

"I am excited to compete against teams outside of the SEC, and this will be a test run for (the SEC Tournament Dec. 3)," said Becca Jones, senior swimmer who races in the 50, 100 and 200 free.

Both meets will be conducted similarly.

The team will try to capture seasonal best times and essentially see how it competes against the schools.

"There will be great teams at Georgia, and all the meets have been preparation for this," coach Brett Hawke said.

For the meet, the team has made personal and team goals.

"My goal is to be faster than last year and for the team relays," said junior swimmer Marcelo Chierighini.

In regard to the season so far, the team has been nearly perfect in terms on the score board.

"The season is great so far," Chierighini said. "I've never done this well."

Chierighini swims the 50 and 100 meter freestyle events and has won the SEC Swimmer of the Week award twice.

However, according to Chierighini, even the underclassman are ready to plunge into the rest of the season.

"I'm happy with the team," Chierighini said. "The freshman class is good, and they are excited as well."

For personal improvement, Chierighini said he would like to perfect his start, which he said is his biggest weakness in the pool.

As for the team, Chierighini said it needs to continue its hard work.

"I want to make the most out of my senior year, which I think has shown in the dual meets, because I have gotten my season's best times," Jones said.

The team's energy has been high along with its level of excitement for the upcoming meets.

"Everyone has been bringing each other up, which has shown in meets," Jones said.

So far, the team has shown its roster is deep with talent.

"The coaches have been putting us in off events," Jones said. "People have stepped up and have proven to do something they didn't think they could."

The team is now pushing toward the championship end of the season.

With the team racing for a 16th consecutive SEC victory at the end of the season, Chierighini said the team knows how difficult it will be.

"I think it's really important for another win," Chierighini said. "This year will be the toughest, but we've been working hard."

The women haven't earned an SEC title since 2008.

"This is the strongest team right now, and I think we have our best shot," Jones said. "I would love to hang a banner up my senior year."

Although the team wants another SEC title, Hawke wants more.

"An SEC title is important, but we are focused on a NCAA title," Hawke said.

The Georgia Fall Invitational will be held in Athens, Ga. on Friday, Nov. 30.

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