BATON ROUGE, La. – The LSU swimming and diving team returned to the pool and diving well for the first regular-season meet against Grand Canyon. The men won 194-106, while the women defeated the Antelopes 230-70.
LSU welcomed back fans to the Natatorium for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic first hit in March 2020.
IN THE POOL
The Tigers took the pool with a strong first outing against an opponent, not in the purple and gold. LSU began the meet with an impressive start as the men and women both won the 200-yard medley relay. The women’s ‘A’ and ‘B’ relay teams finished in first and second, respectively. The men also took first place in the first official event of the season.
“Spencer Adrian summed it up best,” head swimming coach Rick Bishop said. “It’s a great day to be a Tiger. The energy, the enthusiasm – we had so much fun. Grand Canyon was such a great competitor. They brought their best, and they made us swim at our best. We’re having some great swims at this point in the season. We’re moving forward, they’re learning, they’re getting better. We’re set up for a great season.”
LSU won 23 swimming events during the meet, which was highlighted by 2020 Tokyo Olympian Brooks Curry, who broke the pool record in the 50-yard free with a time of 19.51.
Freshman Griffin Curtis showed off the incredible talent of the incoming recruiting class after winning three events: 200-yard medley relay, 100-yard backstroke, and 200-yard backstroke. Junior Katarina Milutinovich also had a strong outing for the Tigers, as she won four separate events, two of them individually. She won the 200-yard free, 100-yard free, and was a part of the 400-yard free relay and 200-yard medley relay.
In addition to the strong performance from Milutinovich, Griffin, and Curry, sophomore Hannah Bellina and junior Jolee Liles had strong performances. Bellina finished the meet with three wins in the 200-yard butterfly, 100-yard butterfly, and 400-yard free relay. Liles started off her third season in the purple and gold with two wins in the 1000-yard free and the 500-yard free.
ON THE BOARDS
2020 Olympian Juan Celaya-Hernandez continued to impress Saturday, as he took home first place in the one-meter springboard with a score of 423.90. He also placed first in the three-meter springboard with a final score of 416.10.
Head Diving Coach Doug Shaffer said his athletes still have much room for improvement, but he was proud to see the enthusiasm and passion for the sport shine through.
“At the end of the day, it’s Oct. 9,” Shaffer said. “Our overall performances were solid, some really good stuff. Some stuff that is reflective of the fact it’s Oct. 9. We’re still working on fundamentals and strength and conditioning. From a spirit and teamwork and camaraderie perspective, I couldn’t be happier, as we’re looking through challenges, changes, and developments looking ahead.”
Sophomore Montserrat Gutierrez Lavenant, 2021 Female Diver of the Year recipient showed off her strength on the boards finishing the day with two first-place finishes. She scored a 301.50 in the one-meter dive and a 298.73 in the three-meter dive. Freshman Maggie Buckley showed out during her first dual meet of her LSU career finishing in second place behind Gutierrez Lavenant on the one-meter and three-meter scoring a 301.05 and a 279.00.
Freshman Zayne Danielewicz and junior Hayley Montague also had strong outings. Danielewicz finished in fourth on the three-meter with a score of 240.38 and fourth on the one-meter with a score of 273.15. Montague finished the meet with a third-place finish on the three-meter with a score of 271.43 and fifth on the one-meter with a score of 256.73.
The Tigers head out west to the Cadet Natatorium at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The meet will last two days from Oct. 22 to Oct. 23. Friday’s portion of the competition will begin at 6 p.m. CT/ 5 p.m. MT. The Saturday portion will start at 11 a.m. CT/ 10 a.m. MT.