Men's Swimming Hosts NCAA Runner-Up Stanford
BATON ROUGE — For the second consecutive year, the LSU men’s swimming team opens the dual-meet season against 2007 NCAA runner-up Stanford at 3 p.m. Friday in the LSU Natatorium.
LSU returns 14 letterwinners and two athletes who garner multiple NCAA All-America honors. The Tigers produced one of the finest seasons in school history in 2006-07.
LSU shattered five school records, cracked the College Swim Coaches Association of America poll for the first time since 2000 and earned its highest Southeastern Conference Championships’ finish since 2001 with sixth place.
Fourth-year head coach Adam Schmitt said last year’s success has brought even higher expectations as the Tigers continue to duel against elite competition.
“This is the first year where we really have a true full squad on the men’s side where we can really compete against some of these Top 10 teams,” said Schmitt. “We are looking at having a winning attitude. We go in here to win some races and take some races away from this high caliber program. That is where we want to be.”
Schmitt said the meet will be used as measuring stick for seeing what swimmers perform well in certain events.
“We are looking at where people are going to fit in,” said Schmitt. “We are looking for some good performances. It’s preseason and really early, but I think we can see where people are going to fit on this squad.”
Headlining the list of returning swimmers is three-time All-American Julius Gloeckner. Gloeckner broke three school records last season and now holds more school records than any other swimmer in school history.
He capped the 2007 NCAA Championships with a first-team All-America honor in the 400 IM with seventh place and honorable mention All-America accolades in the 200 butterfly with 14th place.
Gloeckner believes the Stanford meet is a good challenge to begin the dual-meet season.
“This will be a good test to see where we are right now,” said Gloeckner. “Other important meets will be coming as the season goes. We hope to race tough. It has been awhile for everyone since they had their last race and meet.”
The Tigers also return NCAA qualifiers Miko Malberg and Christoph Lubenau. Malberg was a double finalist at last year’s SEC meet in the 50 free and 100 free. Friday is the beginning of an exciting year for the Tallinn, Estonia, native. Malberg has qualified to compete for his native country at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in August.
Lubenau is coming of a solid campaign that saw him reach NCAAs in his first season at LSU. He was a top-eight finisher at the conference meet in the 100 butterfly and ranks fourth in school history in that respective event (47.38).
Three other 2007 SEC finalists, including senior Kevin Braud (100 and 200 backstroke), junior Connor Farber (200 free) and sophomore Sean LeNeave (200 fly and 200 individual medley) are expected to play key roles. Braud has qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials next June in Omaha, Neb.
Stanford is coming off of its 26th straight Pac-10 conference championship and an NCAA runner-up finish to Auburn last spring. The Cardinal has been training in Louisiana prior to the start of fall classes on Sept. 24.
Meanwhile, divers and the LSU women’s team begin competition on Sept. 21 as the Tigers play host to the annual Purple and Gold Intrasquad at 3 p.m. Admission is free to the public.