COLLEGE STATION, Texas --- The Texas A&M men's and women's swimming and diving teams will open the 2013 portions of their seasons with a stiff test against the Auburn Tigers at 10 a.m. on Saturday at the Student Recreation Natatorium. Admission is free and fans will receive a 12th Man towel.
It will be the first home meet of the 2012-13 season for both Aggie squads and the Tigers will be the first Southeastern Conference team to compete in Aggies' home pool since A&M officially joined the conference last year. The Student Rec Natatorium is the home of the 2012 SEC Swimming and Diving Championships Feb. 19-23, which will mark the first SEC Championship event ever in College Station.
"Auburn has won a ton of SEC titles and some NCAA titles, and they had a big win (on Thursday) over Texas," Aggie women's head coach Steve Bultman said. "As far as dual meets that we'll have at home this year, Auburn will be the best competition that we face, especially since this is our first dual meet of the year. I encourage our fans to come out and support the teams. I know it's an early start, but we did this to replicate the SEC Championships schedule. It's a little bit of a rehearsal."
Bultman's Aggie women's team is ranked No. 2 nationally, its highest ranking in program history, and compiled a perfect 5-0 record last fall. Aggie men's head coach Jay Holmes' team is unranked and will be seeking its first win of the season against the Tigers.
Both Aggie squads will have their hands full with the powerful Tigers, who bring a No. 9 national ranking on the men's side while the women's squad is ranked No. 11. At last year's NCAA Championships, the A&M women placed sixth and the Tigers were seventh, while the Tiger men placed sixth and the Aggie men were 13th.
While it's the first competition for the Aggies since last fall, the Tigers are coming off home victories by both teams over the Texas Longhorns. The Tiger men took a 166-132 win while the Auburn women won by a 153-145 score. The Tigers enter Saturday's meet 4-0 on the men's side and 5-0 in women's competition.
"We're looking forward to getting back in the water and I think you'll see a great college dual meet on Saturday," Holmes said. "Teams like coming to College Station and competing in our pool, and that's especially true with the SEC Championships coming up. It's a great opportunity for our guys to get up on the blocks and race. Some people take competitions for granted. We don't, and I want them to be very aggressive and seize every opportunity that comes their way."
The dual meet will be live-streamed via 12th Man TV on AggieAthletics.com, and live results can be accessed at http://www.aggieathleticsmedia.com/swimstats/Auburn2013.