Nov. 4, 2008
Much preparation is in store for the Tennessee men's swimming and diving team as they welcome rival Virginia to the Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center for a dual meet Thursday at 2 p.m. The 12th-ranked Cavaliers are riding the momentum of a win against in-state rival Virginia Tech. Tennessee, which leads the all-time series 8-3, enters this meet fresh off a win at Kentucky.
"The Tennessee-Virginia rivalry is a great one, extending back many years," UT head coach John Trembley said. "They have had their fair share of wins over us, even though we hold an edge. Thursday however, you can throw all that out the window. It's just the Virginia Cavaliers against the Tennessee Volunteers."
UT and Virginia have met every season since 1999. Despite splitting the first two meetings, the rest of the series is marked by streaks. The Vols won the next three, then the Cavs won back to back in 2004 and 2005. The 2005 meet is the lone Virginia win in Knoxville. Tennessee has won the last two and looks to win three in a row for the second time.
Since the programs began meeting annually in 1999, this meet has turned into a friendly rivalry. Several connections between the programs provide the schools with more incentive to win. One such connection is Virginia assistant Chip Kline, a Tennessee alumnus and former Vol assistant coach. Kline also spent four years as the director of Knoxville-based Tennessee Aquatics swim club.
"I would say this has become one of our bigger rivals," Vols sophomore Brad Craig said, "because Chip used to coach here and now he is at UVA."
At this point in the season, UVA has faster times than UT in eleven of the fourteen swimming events. UT will have to rely on its much-improved diving program during this meet.
"Virginia comes into this meet with virtually no weaknesses," Trembley said. "We are anticipating a boost from our divers, but we must step up and swim better than we have so far."
"We know they are a great team and it'll be a huge challenge for us," senior All-America Nolan Morrell said. "We will be able to prepare for them emotionally because it is challenge."