Swim/Dive - Texas/Auburn

Swimmers prior to their heat in men's backstroke at the double dual meet against Auburn and Texas at Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center on Nov. 9, 2018.

The Tennessee men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams both lost their meet Friday night against Virginia to open the final month of dual meet competition.

The men’s team was able to put up a fight against the Cavaliers, as the Vols were able to win eight of the 16 events on the night, but eventually lost to the Cavaliers, 158-142.

“We were a little rusty,” men’s associate head coach Lance Asti said. “With the holiday training, we weren’t as ready to compete as Virginia, but there were certainly some bright spots.”

One of those bright spots for the Vols was freshman diver Matthew Wade, who was able to sweep the events on the springboard. The men’s team was forced to compete without one of their main contributors, Zhipeng "Colin" Zeng, due to illness.

“I was pleased to see Matthew continue his development into an elite college diver,” diving coach Dave Parrington said. “I was happy with his composure and performance.”

Wade was able to pick up the slack for his team, as he picked up some points for the Vols on the diving boards. He won the 1-meter springboard with a score of 350.78 and the 3-meter with a score of 390.08. Both of these were career best scores for Wade.

Another big contribution for the men’s team was freshman Michael Houlie, who was making his career debut for the Vols. Houlie, a native of Cape Town, South Africa, won his first collegiate race – the 100-yard breaststroke – in 53.65.

Other winners for the men’s team included junior Taylor Abbott in the 1650 freestyle, senior Kyle DeCoursey in the 50 freestyle, junior Alec Connolly in the 100 freestyle and senior Joey Reilman in the 200 backstroke. The Vols were also able to win the 200 freestyle relay to end the meet.

On the women’s side, the Lady Vols were paced by a two-win day from sophomore Nikol Popov. In total, the Lady Vols were able to win six events, but ultimately fell to the Cavaliers, 178-122.

“It was really good to get back racing again,” women’s associate head coach Ashley Jahn said. “Virginia is a very well-coached team and very competitive. It was a good first meet back.”

In Popov’s first event of the evening, she continued her strong form in the breaststroke. Later in the match, sophomore Amanda Nunan won the 1650 freestyle (16:22.95) and junior Tess Cieplucha took the 400 IM (4:12.54).

Lady Vol winners also included junior Meghan Small in the 100 backstroke and freshman Trude Rothrock in the 100 butterfly.  

In its next meet, Tennessee hosts Georgia for Senior Day on Jan. 26 at the Allan Jones Aquatic Center. The meet starts at 11:00 a.m. and will be shown on the SEC Network.

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