Oct. 26, 2011
The Tennessee Volunteers leave their home waters for the first time this season, hitting the road for a meet against Louisville on Thursday.
The meet is set to begin at 2 p.m. Eastern at the Ralph R. Wright Natatorium.
While the Vols (1-1) have beaten Louisville each of the last four seasons, Tennessee head coach John Trembley said Tennessee is facing an steadily improving Louisville team that features several returning All-Americans.
"We've encouraged our guys to realize they're swimming against a very quality opponent in their home waters," Trembley said. "This is a fine program that's rising with sights on beating programs like Tennessee and others."
A LOOK AT LAST WEEK
Tennessee is coming off an season-opening split at home last weekend, beating Kentucky 213-87 but losing to a strong Indiana squad by the narrowest of margins 151-149.
Senior diver Ryan Helms highlighted the event by sweeping the 1-meter and 3-meter events. Meanwhile, fellow senior Ricky Henahan earned SEC Swimmer of the Week honors by winning the 100-yard backstroke in a conference-leading 48.33 seconds.
Trembley said the first meet was a learning experience as swimmers got used to collegiate meet, rather than just competing in scrimmages and practice. That first meet could prove to be a good learning tool as the team goes on the road for the first time.
"First of all, we have to realize we'll be in an entirely different environment than the one we saw when Indiana and Kentucky came to Knoxville," Trembley said. "That being said, I think the team got some good information about where they are in their training and racing.
"Last weekend, it's different to go from a scrimmage environment like the Orange and White to a collegiate competition. It can inspire some performance, but it can also inspire some tightness. So I think we've been through both and are looking to compete against Louisville."
SERIES AGAINST LOUISVILLE
Tennessee has faced Louisville every season since 2007, earning wins in each meeting. The Vols lead the all-time series against the Cardinals 9-0.
The Vols opened the season against Louisville at home last season, winning 197-103.
Tennessee last competed at Louisville in 2009, and that meet was highlighted by the backstroke performance Henahan, then a sophomore. He helped the Vols to a 168-132 road victory by setting a Louisville pool record in the 100 backstroke with a time of 48.06.
He also finished second in the 200 back and was a part of Tennessee's winning 200 medley and 400 freestyle teams.
"I can recall that race; Ricky swam a very fine 100 backstroke," Trembley said. "The response from that point forward, I think he swam so fast he questioned how much faster he could go through the season. Two years forward, he's much more mature.
"He put up a very fine number on the board (on Saturday). I think that's the fastest time in the nation at this point, and it should be. he needs to set his sights on swimming faster and faster. Not every meet, but getting faster through the season as he's capable of.