Feb. 17, 2014
BY: ROBBY VERONESI
A season full of record times, dual meet victories and highly competitive swimming and diving has come down to this week. After months of training and competing through a tough season, the Tennessee swimming and diving program now faces the toughest test of its season this week.
Athens, Ga., will be the site of the 2014 SEC Swimming and Diving Championships Tuesday through Saturday. With eight schools ranked or receiving votes on the men's side and seven ranked women's squads, this week promises to have an electric atmosphere with some tight races and some great memories made.
Before this huge week in the pool kicks off, some Vols and Lady Vols divulged their favorite memories from past successful SEC Championships, including flash mobs, swimming at the Allan Jones in 2012, some air banjo and a flashback to a massive Vol victory in 2000. Here are their thoughts:
Molly Hannis: "My favorite memory was when we got second at our home pool in SECs. It was great when it came up on the scoreboard and we got second. The crowd, and being able to do that at home, was awesome."
Lindsay Gendron: "My freshman year, when we won the 400 medley relay...the whole team rushed the pool deck and it was awesome and everyone was going crazy.
"Or sophomore year when all the parents did a flash mob in the stands to All I Do Is Win (DJ Khaled featuring Ludacris, Rick Ross, T-Pain, Snoop Dogg), right before the relay. They did a pyramid with Renato's (Prono) sister on top."
Chris Sadsad: "First day (2013 in College Station, Texas), 200 medley relay...way too loud, I couldn't hear myself, I couldn't hear anyone. Troy (), the Florida head coach, was screaming at us, telling us to get away from his side of the pool because apparently we were standing in front of Florida. That was it, hands down."
Lauren Solernou: "Freshman year, my SECs were at Florida. The 400 medley relay won and we all ran over to them. It was great!"
Amanda Carner: "My favorite memory of SECs was how exciting it was when we won the 200 medley relay the first night (in College Station, Texas)."
Lance Asti, assistant coach: "I think it was the 2000 SECs. My roommate, Brett Tannhauser, was swimming the 500-yard freestyle and he was a full body length behind with 100 (yards) to go. I just walked away from the side of the pool. I knew he was going to win it. Sure enough, he kicked the legs into full blast and won the SECs by a full body length. One of the greatest come-from-behind victories that I had ever seen. It just proved to me that anything is possible at SECs. If you've got a lane, then you've got a chance to win it."
Dave Parrington, head diving coach: "Two years ago in this pool was a whole lot of fun, winning all of the men's (diving) events. A real special moment was Tori's last dive in the women's 10-meter final. If you dig out the ESPN coverage, you'll see how fun it was for me. That was pretty special being in our home pool."
Michael Wright, graduate assistant: "My senior year, day one of SECs and the swimming and diving had to be separated because the Gainesville pool wasn't big enough to host swimming and diving at the same time. Diving had to go week one and swimming went week two. It was bittersweet. The first event of the day was men's one-meter. I had a really solid preliminary, I was in third or so. (I) came back that night and won finals. That was my first SEC gold medal, awesome feeling. It was tough that the swim team wasn't there to cheer you on or enjoy the glory, but it was probably one of my most accomplished moments and one of my proudest moments, so it was awesome."
Mauricio Robles: "Any event where I was diving 1-meter, 3-meter or 10-meter, the entire side of the pool was orange. It was obvious they were from Tennessee. I was a freshman, so it was pretty cool having the whole team supporting me."
Tori Lamp: "My favorite memory is probably my first year competing at SECs. I had to score 8's or 9's on my last dive and I got straight 9's to finish the meet. Because it was my first SECs, it made that moment a little more special."
Mary Griffith: "Those three relays that won (last year), just being on the sidelines for all of them and grabbing the team's arms and jumping up and down. The excitement, we all felt it."
Matt Kredich, head swimming coach: "The first relay that we won when I was coaching was at Alabama in 2008. We were in the lead in the last leg and our anchor dove in with the lead, ended up getting passed in the middle of the 50, and with about 12 yards to go, found something to pass the girl from Auburn back and so we won. That was the first time we had won in about 15 years or so."
Tristan Slater: "Last year, my best memory was the 800 free relay the first night. We were on the outside lane, so we weren't the fastest going in. That day, all of us just swam out of our minds on that relay and we ended up in second. It was the first time I had ever been on the podium in SECs."