As is to be expected, a lot more camaraderie and unity are apparent on the pool deck at Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center now that both the Tennessee men's and women's swim teams are under coach Matt Kredich.
"We're really close," said Vol senior Ed Walsh. "The environment is just what it needs to be. We push each other every day."
Added Lady Vol Kelsey Floyd, who has also been around the program four years, "There have been a lot of changes. We have four new coaches. That is obviously different from what I'm used to, but they have all been really good changes and everybody is more unified."
The two teams were definitely unified in their success at the conclusion of the three-day Tennessee Invitational Saturday, as they both finished first.
The Tennessee women, with 1,189 points, easily outdistanced runner-up Kentucky (847), Colorado State (772.5) and Duke (611.5).
The men, meanwhile, totaled 1,269 points to finish comfortably ahead of Kentucky (1,020) and Duke (693).
While the team theme was noticeable, some strong individual performances helped create the unity.
Leading the way was Floyd, who won her fourth individual title of the meet with a win in the 200-yard butterfly in 1 minute, 59.7 seconds.
"I'm faster now than I was this time last year," the Lexington, Ky., senior said. "A couple of times (in the meet) are my season's best so far."
Other individual wins for the Lady Vols on Saturday came from Molly Hannis in the 200 breaststroke (2:11.05) and Lindsay Gendron, who battled back from a recent illness to win the 100 free (49.9) in her only day of competing.
For the men, Sam Petersen won the 1,650 (15:21.85), Walsh won the 100 free (44.98), while freshman Sean Lehane continued his breakout meet with a win in the 200 backstroke (1:45.85).
The UT men and women also won the 400 free relay races.
Kredich, who is in his first year coaching the men and his eighth season coaching the women, was satisfied with not only the results, but also the lessons learned over the last three days.
"I'm really pleased," he said. "We came in with the primary goal of getting a lot of swims in. It puts each successive swim under more pressure, the pressure of fatigue both mentally and physically and, of course, the pressure of competition."
In diving, defending NCAA 10-meter platform runner-up and SEC champion Tori Lamp of Tennessee won the platform with 298.35 points.
UT diving coach Dave Parrington said the Bearden High graduate has been learning some new dives to be even more competitive on the national and international level in the long term. As a result, her performance Saturday was a little more inconsistent than is typical for her, despite the win.
"Sometimes there are growing pains," he said.