With eyes already set on the championship season, the Tennessee Swim and Dive team will face their strongest opponents yet in Texas and Auburn this Friday at Allan Jones Aquatic Center in Knoxville.
As the Texas men’s team is defending national champions and the Auburn women’s team has recorded very fast times this season, both will bring a new level of competition to the meet.
“So Auburn women, Texas men are going to be the most formidable opponents we’ve had, which means in order for us to beat them, we’ve got to be better than we have yet,” head coach Matt Kredich said.
This meet weekend marks the third weekend of competition in a row for the Vols, after not having competed in the first eight weeks of the regular season.
Swimmer Erika Brown and diver Colin Zeng were named SEC Swimmer and Diver of the week last week, respectively. Both Zeng and Brown have had successful seasons thus far, and continue to build on their work.
“When we made the schedule, we looked at it as a way to take steps, you know, week-by-week take steps towards the mid-season peak,” Kredich said. “Which will be our invitational. So we’re trying to build on what we’ve seen in the first two meets, and in one or two cases, see people in events we haven’t seen them in yet.”
Texas and Auburn will both bring serious excitement to Knoxville, not to be diminished by the 40th reunion of the Tennessee men’s national championship team.
Tennessee won it’s first and only NCAA championship in 1978, defeating second-place Auburn by 122 points and defending champions, the USC Trojans by 164 points.
“It means a lot to swim in front of those guys so I think the atmosphere will be really uniquely electric,” Kredich said.
Auburn is a traditional conference rival for the Volunteers, and it was just last year when the Tennessee men beat the Auburn men in their own pool for the first time in recent history.
“So I’m sure there’s going to be a revenge factor in the plan for the meet coming in, and that’s great, it makes for an exciting meet right off the bat with their men at least,” diving coach Dave Parrington said.
Auburn’s diver, Alison Maillard, will bring competition to the women’s diving boards.
“(She’s) had some great battles with our divers and we’re looking forward to that,” Parrington said. “It’s going to be really fun and exciting and probably pretty instrumental in the outcome of the meet, I think.”
On the men’s side, Texas’s Jordan Windle will face a re-match with Zeng. At the NCAA meet last spring, the only divers to make finals in all three diving events were Windle and Zeng.
Both Texas and Auburn are highly ranked teams and will bring a new level of competition that the Vols have not seen yet this year.
The meet will begin at 12 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 9 at the Allan Jones Aquatic Center.