Coming off an impressive showing against the Louisville Cardinals, the No. 15 Lady Vols swim team travels to Columbia, S.C., for their second meet of the season.
They will compete in a Southeastern Conference dual meet against rival Kentucky and South Carolina.
The Lady Vols soundly beat Louisville to start the season, but their upcoming meet against two SEC opponents will be a more daunting challenge. They prepare for a Kentucky team that ranks 22nd in the CSCAA Division I Swimming and Diving Dual Meet polls. South Carolina is unranked, but the Gamecocks feature a roster with 17 returnees including NCAA All-American Christy Williams.
Second year coach Matt Kredich says he realizes that facing two SEC opponents will cause some tough line-up decisions.
“We have a little bit more of a challenge putting together a line-up because we have to look at the strength of both teams,” Kredich said. “We may be putting people in events they aren’t used to swimming in order to match up better against the combination of Kentucky and South Carolina.”
Tennessee is anticipating racing Kentucky junior Jenny Bradford. Bradford is one of the nation’s top sprinters finishing fifth and seventh in the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle at the NCAA Championships. She is a two time All-American as a result of her finishes in those events.
“Kentucky has one of the best sprinters in the country so we want to put our best sprinters against her,” said Kredich.
South Carolina is led by junior Christy Williams and senior Lindsey Tiberio. Williams was an NCAA All-American last year and Tiberio participated in the NCAA Championship meet.
“South Carolina has three athletes that are really versatile and can do a lot of different events, so we have a few different plans to go up against them,” Kredich said. “We just have to see how our team looks in a couple of days and see who is doing what events well, but we have some ideas.”
Kredich expects a tough distance competition for his team and is looking to senior Misty Cain to lead the event.
“One of our biggest challenges will be in the distance event. Misty Cain has had a really solid few weeks of training, so I think she is going to be real important for us trying to win this event.”
Despite the solid showing against the Cardinals last week, senior Megan Tomes admits the team needs to improve in some areas.
“The team is focused on working on things, that not necessarily went wrong, but to fix things that happened last weekend. To perfect all of our swims, starts, turns, and finishes,” Tomes said.
Kredich is excited about seeing his team race again and is looking forward to see how they respond to what will likely be a competitive road meet.
“It’s likely to be a competitive meet so I am looking forward to seeing how people do under pressure, and it is our first away meet so we will see how the team responds to that challenge,” Kredich said.