Ordinarily, the opening weekend in Southeastern Conference play has been very good for Alabama…
"This is a definite step forward for our program," Alabama Coach Dennis Pursley said. "Our mission now is to surpass the breakthrough performances we had at the SEC Championships."
When the NCAA revealed the start list for the national championships, which will be held in Minneapolis, Minn., March 20-22, there were seven Crimson Tide swimmers on the list, including three that will swim individual races and four others that will see relay duties. All three individuals and all three relays broke new school records at last month's Southeastern Conference Championships.
Juniors Kaylin Burchell and Kristel Vourna will both be making their third trip to the NCAA Championships. Vourna, who redshirted last season, earned All-American honors in 2012.
Burchell will swim the 100 and 200 breaststroke as well as the 200 and 400 medley relays while Vourna will suit up in her specialty, the 100 butterfly, as well as both medley relays and the 200 freestyle relay. Freshman Bridget Blood will make her first appearance at the NCAA Championships, earning spots in the 100 and 200 breaststrokes.
Senior Stephanie Kinsey will swim on the 200 and 400 medley relays as well as the 200 freestyle relays. Sophomore Justine Panian will swim the 200 medley and freestyle relays while her classmate Emma Saunders will swim the 400 medley relay. Freshman Bailey Scott rounds out the Tide's NCAA roster with a spot on the 200 freestyle relay.
The Tide has a chance to add to its NCAA crew this weekend at the NCAA Zone B Diving Championships, which will be held in Greensboro, N.C.