AUBURN OPENS 2012-13 SWIM/DIVE SEASON WITH ALABAMA
AUBURN, Ala. – The Auburn swimming & diving team will kick off the 2012-13 regular season at 1 p.m. Friday with a dual meet against rival Alabama at the James E. Martin Aquatic Center. Admission is free.
"We're excited to get the season kicked off," Auburn head coach Brett Hawke said. "For us, this is more than just a dual meet, it's Auburn-Alabama. We're fighting for state pride, and we really want to come out and show that we're the dominant swim team in the state. We're ready to race, we've been working hard for the last few weeks, and no matter how tired we feel, the team is chomping at the bit to get up and race."
The "Iron Bowl of Swimming" resumes this season after a one-year hiatus. Friday's meet will be the 43rd all-time meeting between the Auburn and Alabama men and the 32nd between the women. Auburn's men hold a 25-17 advantage in the series, and the Tiger women are 23-8 against the Tide.
The meet will follow a 13-event format with diving taking place concurrent with swimming.
Friday's meet is Auburn Faculty and Staff Day – all AU faculty and staff in attendance can register to win a $50 gift card to the AUFanShop.com online store.
AuburnTigers.com will provide live video streaming of the meet via Auburn All-Access, and fans can follow @AuburnSwimming on Twitter for updates from the pool deck.
ABOUT THE TIGERS
Auburn returns a total of 37 letter-winners from the 2011-12 squad, including 20 from the SEC Champion men's team and 17 from the women's team. Included in that number are 18 swimmers that have earned All-America honors (seven men, 11 women) and 14 athletes that have captured SEC titles (seven men, seven women).
The Auburn men are the 16-time defending SEC Champions and finished sixth at the NCAA Championships last year. Seniors Kyle Owens and Stuart Ferguson were named captains of the men's squad during preseason practice.
Seniors Becca Jones and Micah Lawrence are the captains of the women's team, which tied for seventh at the 2012 NCAA Championships and earned a fourth-place finish in the SEC.
In dual meet competition last season, Auburn's men finished with a 3-2 record, 2-1 in SEC meets, while the Tiger women were 4-2 overall, 1-2 in SEC competition.
Auburn boasts four Olympians on its 2012 roster, representing four different countries. Juniors James Disney-May (Great Britain) and Marcelo Chierighini (Brazil) swam on relay teams for their respective countries, while senior Micah Lawrence (USA) advanced to the women's 200-meter breaststroke final and sophomore Megan Fonteno (American Samoa) competed in the 100-meter freestyle.
The Crimson Tide is 1-0 on both the men's and women's side this year, opening their season last week with a commanding win over Division II foe Delta State. Alabama's men won 192-98 while the Tide women took a 190-85 victory.
Alabama's men return 25 swimmers and divers from their 2012 squad, along with six newcomers. The Tide earned a 25th-place finish at the 2012 NCAA Championships. On the women's side, Alabama will look to build on a 42nd-place showing at last year's NCAA meet. The men finished 6th and the women 7th at the 2012 SEC Championships.
Alabama is in its first year under head coach Dennis Pursley, who previously served as Auburn's director of operations. Most recently, Pursley was the head of British Swimming, leading them as the host country for the 2012 Olympics.
Auburn's men dropped the last meeting against the Crimson Tide, 133-110, on Oct. 9, 2010, in Tuscaloosa. The Tiger women, though, claimed a 169-74 victory.
A LOOK AHEAD
Auburn will make it two SEC meets in two weeks as conference rival LSU visits the Martin Aquatic Center next Saturday for a men's and women's dual meet. The competition is set for an 11 a.m. start.