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Alabama Fifth in 200 Freestyle Relay on Day Two of the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships...

on Friday, March 24, 2017

Crimson Tide Swimming:

After sneaking into the championship finals of the 200 freestyle relay after prelims on day two of the 2017 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships, Alabama took advantage of its opportunity and jumped three place in finals at the IUPUI Natatorium Thursday.

Freshman Zane Waddel led Alabama off with a time of 19.24 and was followed by junior Luke Kaliszak and sophomores Robert Howard and Laurent Bams. 

Bams touched the wall at 1:16.52, less than four-tenths of a second off the school record, and good for fifth place.

The strong finish by the 200 freestyle relay mitigated some of the sting of the Tide's 400 medley relay being disqualified for a turn violation in prelims.

"We had our best swim of the meet so far in the prelims of 400 medley relay and it was disqualified on a stroke violation,"
 UA head coach Dennis Pursley said. 

"To rub salt in the wound, we went back and watched the video of the race and we completely disagree with the call. We perused every avenue available to us in a situation like this, but to no avail. It's going to make our goal of a third straight top-10 finish much tougher to achieve."
Waddell came back later in the evening for a second individual 50 freestyle swim, taking fifth in the B final and 13th overall with another finish of 19.24. The rookie came out of prelims having grabbed the 16th and final spot in finals and, like the 200 freestyle relay earlier in the night, moved up three places in finals.

"I'm proud of the way we responded," Pursley said. "We moved up three places in both of swims tonight. We're just looking at it as from here on out, we've got a lot of swims and we're going to take them one at a time and try and climb back into the meet."

The top-five relay finish put the Crimson Tide on the scoreboard with 28 points. Following Waddell's swim, Alabama finished the second night of the championships in 14th place with 32 points.

"We've got a big deficit to overcome, but if we swim up to our capabilities over the next couple of days, we feel like we have a chance to end up where we want to be," Pursley said. "It's just a matter of taking advantage of the opportunities that we have."

Alabama returns to action Friday morning with a full day, including swims in the 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle, 100 backstroke and 100 butterfly as well as the 200 medley relay. Prelims begin at 10 a.m. ET, while finals start at 6 p.m. ET.

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