UT’s men’s swim team dives into its 2006-07 campaign when it hosts Louisville on Friday.
This year’s team returns seven of last year’s 11 All-Americans. Last year’s team finished 17th at the NCAA Championships, and this year it is looking to finish in the top 25 for the 24th consecutive year.
Team captain Brad Boswell knows that last year’s experience will help the team this year.
“We had five guys go to the NCAA Championships last year for the first time. That experience will help them to prepare for this year’s NCAAs,” Boswell said. “We want to finish as high as we can at NCAAs this year.”
Boswell thinks that in addition to the seven returning All-Americans, they will be able to count on their depth and newcomers to contribute to the team.
“We have a lot of quality young guys. We will look to them to step up this season,” Boswell said.
The depth of their team will help the Vols look for another strong year from junior Michael Wolfe. The backstroke specialist, who placed third in both the 100 and 200 backstroke at last year’s Southeastern Championships, will continue to be a solid contributor. Wolfe finished last season with a solid performance at the NCAA Championships by finishing 12th place, along with three other teammates, in the 400 free relay; he also finished 19th in the 100 backstroke. Those efforts earned him an All-American honorable mention.
“Michael Wolfe has become extremely reliable to swim great consistently,” Boswell said. “We will rely on him to be a big point scorer for us this year.”
The team has been working hard during the off-season with conditioning and weight training, and just concluded its preseason workouts with the annual Orange-White competition as the White team defeated the Orange team 74-37.
“Though there is an off-season from competition, there is never an off-season for training. We have been working hard ever since school has been in session,” Boswell said.
The Vols begin their season in a dual meet against an opponent they have never faced before — the Louisville Cardinals.
Coach John Trembley is excited about squaring off with them and is ready for the season to start.
“It is an exciting time at The University of Tennessee in that we bring a new opponent in Louisville into the UT Student Aquatic Center,” Trembley said. “Louisville has a great program and just entered into its first season in its multi-million dollar aquatic complex.”
Trembley knows that the Cardinals will be a good test to gauge the current status of the team.
“Their coach has SEC ties; he was a long-time assistant at Alabama. He has some great international talent on his team and a strong crew of Americans, and it should be a great first contest for this Tennessee team,” Trembley said.
The Vols will swim at home two other times this season against Virginia and Georgia.
Louisville will be the last home opener at the Student Aquatic Center, as the state-of-the-art Allan Jones Aquatic Center is scheduled to be completed for the start of next season.
The meet begins at 5 p.m. and will be the first of two home meets the Vols have this semester.