Celaya-Hernandez Wins; Rozier, Horton Shine at A&M
College Station, Texas – The LSU swimming and diving team had impressive swims and dives across the board during the first day of competition at the Art Adamson Invitational. The day was highlighted by a victory in men’s one-meter springboard by Juan Celaya-Hernandez, as well as new top times in the pool by several women’s swimmers.
“It was a good day one,” said LSU diving head coach Doug Shaffer. “We had some really excellent performances today. Juan did really well in the preliminaries, then turned around and won the one-meter. I was most impressed with his preliminary. Matt McClellan getting into the finals was a boost. Dakota Hurbis was just shy of the NCAA Zones Qualification, but today was a good development for him.”
In the diving well, Juan Celaya-Hernandez stole the show again, continuing his undefeated season with a victory in the men’s one-meter, scoring a 399.95. The sophomore took the event by just 3.35 points, beating out Sam Thornton of Texas A&M.
“Texas A&M has four good men in the event,” said Shaffer. “Their strength in depth is good. I think [Juan] gets better the higher we go, but it’s going to be competitive from here on out. This prepares us for coming back here for the SEC Championships.”
Meanwhile, junior Matt McClellan took 7th overall in the finals with a score of 300.85.
“Matt’s a gamer,” Shaffer explained. “He competes really well. He was out there doing what he can, but it’s still early in the season. We still have diving invites as we look into February. We’ll look to work out all of the roughness and inconsistencies.”
Dakota Hurbis and Matt Phillip finished 11th and 16th overall, scoring a 285.10 and 240.30 respectively.
“Dakota’s coming along,” Shaffer said. “Dakota and I both expect more from him. We’re confident in the steps he’s making.”
For the women, junior Rileigh Knox was the lone competitor today, and she dove to 11th place and a score of 264.30, missing out on the finals by less than 20 points. Having dealt with injuries the past year, Shaffer was proud of her performance.
“That was a good move forward for her in what was really only her second three-meter competition this year after struggling with injuries,” noted Shaffer. “We think we’re moving past the light at the end of the tunnel with her.”
“On the women’s side, it’s a fast meet,” said swimming head coach Dave Geyer. “You have what are arguably the top two women’s programs in the nation, so we knew second swims would be hard to come by considering the competition. I think we did a great job in terms of drops and best times. We got some really good momentum going after performances like the 500 free and 200 IM. Tomorrow’s a good day for us in terms of the setup. On the men’s side, Jackson [Lucas] getting his best time in the 500 free was solid. In the IM, we were kind of all over the board, but to be honest, we don’t have anybody dedicated to the 200 IM. It was a long day and the fire alarm threw us off a little bit, but we have to respond and we will.”
For Rozier, it was in the 200 IM, where she was already 10th on the list from her swim of 2:01.43 at last season’s SEC Championships. This time, she set a new PR at 2:00.10 while finishing fifth in the C-Final and made the NCAA B-cut standard.
“That was a good swim for her. We really need her to do well in that event. When we get to the SEC format, we need her to learn to swim fast in the mornings. If you don’t swim well in the mornings, you don’t get a shot at night.”
Horton cracked the list in the 50 free with a time of 22.95. Like Rozier, Horton is now 10th on the all-time list. The freshman finished 19th overall in the event and made the NCAA B-Cut standard.
“She’s fun,” explained Geyer. “She comes in, takes care of business, and takes everything in stride. She’s been level-headed through it all. It’s been a fun, upward trajectory, and things are looking good for her.”
On top of these performances, the women scored twice in the 50 free and finished in the top-nine in both relays on the night.
In the 50 free, along with Horton’s entrance to the all-time list, the Tigers also had two swimmers in the A-Final, juniors Haylee Knight and Summer Spradley. They finished fifth and seventh overall after swimming times of 22.82 and 22.97, respectively. For both Knight and Spradley, this is their first B-standard time of the season. It was also a personal record for Spradley in the event.
“They had two great swims to get into the final. It’s good to see Haylee [Knight] coming off of surgery and Summer [Spradley] continue to grow.
The women also had a strong showing in the relays, starting and ending the night with top-10 finishes. The team of Haylee Knight, Kate Zimmer, Grace Horton, and Summer Spradley took bronze in the 200 free relay with a time of 1:30.92 to start the night.
To end the night, Zimmer, Spradley, Knight, and Helen Grossman finished ninth with a time of 3:39.89 in the 400-yard medley relay.
The men’s swimming team also had an impressive night, showing off its strength in the relay sprints, as well as the promising future in the distance events.
The relays bookended what was a solid night for the men that consisted of three top-five finishes and nine top-15 finishes. Both relays finished in the top five, with the 200 free relay team of Joao Mescolote, Karl Luht, Matthew Klotz, and Jake Markham taking bronze with a season-best time of 1:20.17. Luht and Markham were joined by Luca Pfyffer and Lewis Clough, and ended the night with a fifth-place finish in the 400-yard medley relay, recording a time of 3:15.19.
When it comes to relays, it’s about racing for the letters on your cap,” Geyer said. “We could’ve done even better, and we’ll get better as the weekend goes.”
Individually, the best event for the men was also the 50 free, where the men placed four swimmers in the top 15. Mescolote sprinted to a time of 20.16, a fifth-place finish, and an NCAA B-Standard. Karl Luht was the top performer of the B-Final, finishing 11th with a time of 20.56.
Matthew Klotz and Tyler Harper also swam in the B-Final, and tied for 14th at 20.80 seconds.
“It’s good for where we’re at. We always want to be faster, and they have that same drive, which is good. “
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One-meter: Juan Celaya Hernandez (399.95) NCAA Zones Qualification
Other NCAA Zones Qualification:
One-Meter: Matthew McClellan (300.85)
NCAA B-Cut Times:
50 free- Haylee Knight (22.82)
50 free- Summer Spradley (22.97)
50 free- Grace Horton (22.95)
50 free- Joao Mescolote (20.16)
200 IM- Nicole Rozier (2:00.10)
Order of Events:
Friday, November 17:
200 M Relay
800 Free Relay
Prelims: 9:30 a.m.
Finals: 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, November 18:
400 Free Relay
Prelims: 9:30 a.m.
Finals: 6:00 p.m.