University of Tennessee swimmer Tristan Slater has been drawing attention in the pool during meets this fall, but it is not just because he often finishes first.
Instead, it has been because of how he has won.
Just as he did against Louisville two weeks ago, the sophomore from England managed to come from behind in a dramatic manner in a dual meet against Ohio State on Friday afternoon at Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center.
He was trailing two Buckeye swimmers with 25 yards remaining in the men's 200-yard breaststroke, but he was able to pass them both.
"It is just good race planning," he said with a smile of his time of 2 minutes, 2.97 seconds. "I know my plan and I think about it prior to the race and try to execute it."
In the 200 individual medley later, he won in rather ho-hum fashion — he took the lead much earlier before finishing in 1:50.04.
Despite his efforts, Tennessee (3-2) lost to undefeated Ohio State, 176.5 to 123.5.
The Lady Vols (5-0) did much better, however, defeating the previously unbeaten OSU women, 191-109, winning all but one race. Lindsay Gendron won in the 1,000 free (9:47.40), the 200 free (1:47.53) and the 500 free (4:46.99), and Kelsey Floyd also won three individual races for the Lady Vols — the 200 butterfly (1:56.53), the 100 fly (53.29) and the 200 IM (2:02.43).
Molly Hannis contributed two wins in the 100 breast (1:01.69) and the 200 breast (2:15.83), pulling ahead of OSU's Angela Severn at the end in the latter race in Slater-like fashion.
Freshman Faith Johnson continued her strong start for the Tennessee women, winning the 50 free (23.08) and the 100 free (50.20).
She said she feels like a typical freshman outside the pool, and has taken a visit home once on a short break to visit her family in High Point, N.C., because she was homesick.
But inside the pool, she has looked like a seasoned veteran and has admittedly acclimated quickly to college swimming.
"It's really incredible being a part of a team like this," she said. "We're always behind each other's back. We are all so determined. We know we have to perform well for ourselves."
Tennessee won three of four events in diving. Jodie McGroarty captured the women's 3-meter (321.38 points), while Tori Lamp was victorious in the women's 1-meter (308.70) and Mauricio Robles finished first in the men's 1-meter (361.43).
"Ohio State has an incredible tradition in diving and we were able to beat them in some instances," said UT diving coach Dave Parrington. "Overall, I'm quite pleased."
While the home diving well was familiar, the format of diving almost continuously while the swimming was taking place was a little different for McGroarty.
"We had a slightly different format today," the senior from England said. "It was kind of a test of endurance for us divers. It's really good to see how long we can concentrate."
The men and women next host the championship-style Tennessee Invitational next Friday through Sunday.