Quick season preview: Swimming and diving

Swim team to juggle facility upgrade with training, season

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. The Alabama swimming and diving year is about to embark on an extremely challenging season, which has nothing to do with what they do in the water.

The Alabama Aquatics Center is in the early stages of a $21 million renewal and renovation, with work being done on one pool and then the other so the team won't be completely displaced.

It will make the upcoming season more difficult from a logistics point.

"It's one of the most exciting things to happen to the program in many years, but also for the coming year one of the most challenging," Coach Dennis Pursley.

"The benefits when it's all said and done far outlay the inconveniences and sacrifices that we need to make in the short term."

Junior Zane Waddell recently wrapped the summer with two gold and two silver medals over the 25-meter course at the 2018 South African Short Course National Championships in Durban, South Africa. He won both the 50 and 100-meter backstrokes with times of 23.55 and 51.63, respectively, and also took second in the 50 and 100-meter freestyles, in 21.65 and 47.54, respectively. .

Waddell also qualified in the 50 and 100-meter freestyle and the 50-meter backstroke for the 2018 FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships, Dec. 11-16 in Hangzhou, China.

Senior Robert Howard led several Alabama swimmers at the United States National Championships in Irvine, Calif. The Alexander City, Ala., native made the championship final of the 50-meter freestyle, finishing sixth with a career-best 22.17. He also posted a career-best 48.67 in prelims before going on to take 11th in the 100-meter freestyle.

Incoming freshman Kensey McMahon had a good showing at the USA Junior National Championships, also held in Irvine. She won both the 800-meter (8:37.45) and 1,500-meter freestyles, finishing more than five seconds ahead of the field in the 800 and seven seconds in the 1,500. She was also second in the 400-meter freestyle with a time of 4:10.46, and sixth in the 200-meter freestyle with a time of 2:02.14.

McMahon and fellow Crimson Tide rookie Rhyan White earned places on Team USA. McMahon will compete in the FINA World Junior Open Water Swimming Championships in Eilat, Israel in September while White will swim at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina in October.

Alabama opens the 2018-19 season at home on Friday, Sept. 14 at 4:30 p.m. against Delta State.