After a day of adjustments on Thursday, the Volunteers came back to rout the Crimson Tide, 362-238, on Friday.
The Lady Vols had multiple podium sweeps, including both the 1M and 3M dives.
Associate head coach Ashley Jahn praised her team for its ability to come back not even 24 hours later and swim against a conference foe in Alabama.
“One of the challenges of a back-to-back meet like that is just bringing energy the next morning,” Jahn said. “I thought the team was really well prepared and they were excited to come in and race… I think our women were just prepared and really wanted to compete even better than they did yesterday.”
The Lady Vols showed improvement across the board, despite the quick turnaround. They dominated the 100 and 200-yard butterfly events, and maintained momentum through the final event.
“I thought that was probably the best that I feel like our 200 flys and IM’s have looked so that is pretty exciting going forward,” Jahn said.
On the pool deck, the women’s team is loud and energetic, always encouraging their teammates. Going into the 400-free relay to finish the meet, some Lady Vols stepped up to contribute.
“…We had a lot of people in the 200-IM in a scoring heat and in an exhibition heat, and then some of those same people came out and jumped in on the last relay and I thought that turnaround was really solid,” Jahn said.
Matthew Garcia had an impressive day on the men’s side, winning the 100 backstroke (47.69) and making his presence known by placing in other events.
“Matthew Garcia is just swimming out of his mind right now,” associate head coach Lance Asti said.
A standout at the Orange and White exhibition meet in October, Taylor Abbott bounced back from a rough day on Thursday.
He won the 1000 freestyle (9:13.68) and the 500 freestyle (4:27.59), showing his strength and resilience as a distance swimmer.
“Taylor Abbott had a tough day yesterday and I was really impressed with his rebound ability,” Asti said. “He came back and threw down a great 1000 and he’s been a spark-plug for our team for the last number of years.”
The men’s team racked up eight first place finishes on Friday, including two from diver Colin Zeng.
Zeng’s ability to compete under pressure was tested against Alabama, when he opted into a more difficult dive to ensure his first place finish in the 3m event.
In the last round of diving, Zeng was ahead and could have won with his planned dive. However, after discussion with diving coach Dave Parrington, he decided to bump it up to a front 4 ½, as opposed to the planned 3 ½.
“I wanted him to be in that type of situation where he might need to do that and we want to use the bigger d.d. (degree of difficulty) dive,” Parrington said. “So it was really good to see him get up and hit that dive, the way he changed it for a higher d.d. and a very difficult dive for him for only the second time ever in a meet.”
For a team that loves competition, this win gave them momentum going into a challenging double-dual meet against the University of Wisconsin and Purdue on Nov. 2.
For associate head coach Lance Asti, the goal was to just get better.
“I thought we did a great job with what the goal was for today and it’s always nice to come out with a win against Bama,” Asti said.
The Nov. 2 meet will start at 1:30 p.m. at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center in West Lafayette, Indiana.