The Lady Vols swimming team dives into its toughest competition against two teams ranked in the top six nationally.
No. 15 Tennessee prepares to host defending national champions No. 3 Auburn and No. 6 Stanford.
“This is about the highest level of competition we can have this season,” coach Matt Kredich said. “We have to be at our absolute best from the very beginning of the meet.”
The Lady Vols return to action after road victories over South Carolina and Kentucky in a tri-meet in South Carolina. The team is looking to build off that momentum heading into this weekend.
“We have definitely stepped it up a bit, especially after last week with the South Carolina/Kentucky meet,” Christine Magnuson said. “We are just gathering momentum and are hoping to go from there.”
At South Carolina, Magnuson recorded a NCAA “B” qualifying time in the 200-yard butterfly, in her first time competing in that event.
The Lady Vols need their depth to be the difference in the coming event. Sprinters Danyelle Vincent and Brittany Nauta, along with breaststroker Bryttany Curran, are swimmers Kredich believes will get to showcase their talent against some of the best swimmers in the nation.
“The key for us is going to be depth,” Kredich said. “We have to really race their second, third and fourth people really well, as well as we race their top people.”
Kredich believes competition won’t be an issue, as the Lady Vols face an Olympian and a stocked Auburn team.
“In a dual meet we match up very well. We have someone who can win in nearly every event,” Kredich said. “Our best freshman, Michele King, is swimming as well as any one in the country in her events right now. Megan Tomes, Christine Magnuson, Carly Mathes — we expect them to be competing for first place.”
One area of concern for Tennessee will be avoiding slow starts. They have been able to overcome slow starts in previous meets, but not against this caliber of talent.
“Our last two meets, I felt like it took us a little while to get going into the meet and we don’t have that luxury going against the defending national champions. And Stanford is swimming as well as any team in the country right now,” Kredich said. “We have got to be aggressive from the very beginning and have no mental lapses.”
The Lady Vols will look to give their opponents all they can handle and know they can win if they perform to their potential.
“I want our team to compete with passion and to be absolutely relentless in the way we race. If we do that we will have a great time and win some close races and will have learned something,” Kredich said.
The two-day event begins on Friday at 4 p.m. and will conclude on Saturday at the Student Aquatic Center.