With one win already under their Speedos, the swimming and diving team will take on Alabama today at 5 pm at the James E. Martin Aquatic Center.
Both men’s and women’s teams came away with decisive wins against Louisiana State University Oct. 23.
Senior Ava Ohlgren swims the freestyle and individual medley. She said the teams learned a lot from the meet against LSU.
“It gave us confidence because we know we’re up and ready to win, but it also gave us things to work on,” Ohlgren said.
She said the team is trying to focus on the areas which need work and fix them quickly.
Senior Tyler McGill also swims the freestyle and individual medley events. He agreed the meet with LSU was a confidence builder and gave the freshman some invaluable experience.
“We’re just hoping to keep our win and momentum from LSU moving forward,” McGill said. “Alabama always swims us real tough and they’ll show up with some guys that are All-Americans that will race our guys real hard.”
The men’s team is returning this season off its eighth NCAA championship while the women are looking to improve last year’s sixth place finish, the lowest in 10 years.
Head coach Brett Hawke said he feels both teams are always hungry for a championship and it is built into the program now.
“There’s always challenges that come with that and I think the women experienced some of those last year,” Hawke said. “Right now, everything looks good and we’re in a good place.”
The Alabama team, which is celebrating the program’s 50th anniversary, has also beaten LSU, along with Georgia Tech and Florida Atlantic.
Last season, the Tide men’s team finished 21st at the NCAA championships while the women came in 38th of 48 teams competing.
This season, the Tide is coming off home wins against Centenary and Vanderbilt with 11 athletes winning 14 individual events.
The last time the two teams went head to head, Auburn swept the in-state rival at a meet held in Tuscaloosa. The Tigers won 10 of 16 staged events on one day of the meet, including a sweep of the women’s 1500m freestyle.
Ohlgren said the team is training as usual and focusing on details such as relay starts and finishes as well as turning.
“I think they always have a pretty strong team, but I feel like Auburn versus Alabama, Auburn always comes out on top so we’re not too concerned about it,” Ohlgren said.
She also said the team is ready to get out and race again after LSU and she thinks there should be some good races today.
Hawke agrees and said he hopes to prove he has the better team.
“Back at the home pool we always do well,” Hawke said. “We’re expecting a decent sized crowd to come out and support the team and looking forward to just swimming hard again.”