Jan. 26, 2010
The 10th ranked Tennessee men's swimming and diving team has a tough week ahead. Saturday's senior day meet against SEC-rival Florida provides a healthy host of challenges for the young Vols squad.
"Florida brings maybe the best team they've had since Coach (Gregg) Troy has been there," head coach John Trembley said. "They are a very balanced team and have no weaknesses."
The Vols should find plenty of extra motivation to earn a win against their biggest rival. In addition to the rivalry, UT is celebrating the collegiate careers of seniors Michael Muscari and Jordan Walters.
"Florida is our traditional rival," Trembley said. "It will help us because the meet is in our pool and it's our senior day. I want to say a thank you to our two seniors. They are both awesome young men."
But there is one more factor pushing the Vols.
Since competition began in the Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center in August 2008, Tennessee is undefeated at home. The Big Orange own a 6-0 dual-meet record on The Hill, as well as notching wins in two Tennessee Invitational meets.
Defending the home waters was never more a motivator for the Vols than it was in their last outing in Knoxville. The Big Orange came from behind to beat out rival Kentucky and win the Tennessee Invitational by a mere four points.
Tennessee is trying to rebound from two straight losses. The most recent was a close meet at Georgia where the Vols only missed the win column by five points, losing 152-148.
After narrowly dropping the contest at Georgia, the team returns to Knoxville with a greater sense of what it takes to win in the SEC.
"We started really well at Georgia," Trembley said. "But we lost the intensity we started with. If we lose intensity against Florida we will be in big trouble.
"I think after that meet, the team has a clearer understanding of the coaches' expectations."
Saturday's meet begins at noon with senior day festivities immediately preceding the competition.