Although he grew up training at Auburn University, Robert Howard said his dream was always to swim at Alabama. Now, he’s finally made that dream come true, and the University of Alabama swimming program is benefiting from it.

Howard’s swimming career started when he was 7 years old. He spent his first 11 years training in his hometown of Alexander City and even spent time at what is now his biggest rivalry school.

“This is something we don’t often expect is to get swimmers right out of Auburn,”said UA swimming and diving coach Dennis Pursley. “I said, ‘Are you one of these split families? You’re from that area, I’m guessing you’ve got some Auburn fans in your family’ and he said, ‘No sir, no bad blood in our family.’ ”

Despite training at Auburn, he’s been a Crimson Tide fan his entire life and is now leaving his mark at his dream school in more ways than just an athlete.

Howard is the fastest Alabama native in the program’s history. He came in with potential and has continued to exceed expectations.

Howard said he continues to grow in and out of the pool, and knows that the lessons he learns during his time as a swimmer at UA will stay with him forever.

“The failures that come with it, the success that comes with it, just try to implement it into my life and once I’m done swimming there’s life to live,” said Howard. “This is a valuable learning life lesson and how to cope with failure and other things and working at a craft.”

His teammates and coaches have seen his growth as well as his lasting impact over the years and said they know this program would not be the same without him.

“He really gets on everyone to cheer and participate. You may not think pf swimming as a huge team sport, but it really is,” said senior swimmer Braxton Young. “You know going through hard practices everyday can drain you so having a great team atmosphere around you is really huge for that and Robert really helps with that.”

Howard said he does not know what he wants to do with his life after swimming, but that he wants to be passionate about whatever he does and that he will work hard to achieve his goals.

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