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LSU Women Earn First Relay Gold Since 1986; MacNeil Wins 50-Free at SEC's

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LSU Women Earn First Relay Gold Since 1986; MacNeil Wins 50-Free at SEC's

BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Tx. – LSU swimmer Maggie MacNeil was once again a part of two historic races for LSU Wednesday, as she won gold in the 50-free and swam the second leg for the victorious 200-yard free relay team on day two of the SEC Championships inside the Rec Center Natatorium.

In a much anticipated timed final for the 200-free relay, LSU looked to show what they could do on a national stage with strong competitors. MacNeil, alongside Katarina Milutinovich, Peyton Curry, and Michaela de Villiers, not only lowered the school record and bettered their A standard time, but they won gold.

The win marks the first time an LSU women’s relay has won an SEC Championship since 1986. It also becomes the first gold medal any Tiger woman has won at the SEC meet since 2015. During the second leg of the event, MacNeil put together the second-fastest 50-free split in history with a 20.44. Her time ended up being the catalyst for Curry and de Villiers to finish it out and clock a time of 1:26.70.

“The Women’s relay was a great TEAM effort,” head swimming coach Rick Bishop said. “Our women have been working together with that relay title on their minds. The Tiger Women wanted to achieve a team relay title not just for the current group but for all of the Tiger women of the past. It was a great moment to have a Tiger relay atop the podium again.”

In addition to earning its first relay medal in 37 years, MacNeil added to the individual accolades in the 50-yard free. After winning in the prelims, MacNeil returned to the final and set multiple records on the way to her first individual SEC championship. She finished with a time of 20.98, which set the SEC, SEC meet, LSU school, and Rec Center Natatorium pool record. It is also the third fastest time in history.

“Maggie is a great swimmer that can do amazing things in the pool,” Bishop continued. “The fire of belief that she has shared with her teammates is what truly makes her special. A team victory in the relay is more dear to Maggie than her individual performances. We are looking forward to some continued great racing from both the Tiger Men and Women as we go through the rest of the week.”

In a single day, the women’s team showed how resilient it was, and it paid off on the leaderboard.

After several impressive performances in the pool and on the boards, the women stayed steady at the top of the leaderboard sitting in second place heading into day three with 378 points. The Florida women jumped LSU to first place, finishing the day with 502 total points.

In the men’s 200-yard free relay, LSU finished in ninth place with a time of 1:17.86, bettering the time set earlier in the season. For the 500-yard free, Jenna Bridges qualified for the ‘B’ final with a time of 4:43.24, which broke her own school record. During the final session, she did it again, officially taking 13th place with a time of 4:43.12.

In the men’s 500-yard free, Stuart Higdon placed 23rd with a time of 4:20.68.

Milutinovich qualified with MacNeil in the 50-free prelims. Milutinovich qualified for the ‘B’ final and took 10th place with a time of 22.29. De Villiers also competed, but in the ‘C’ final, where she claimed 19th place with a time of 22.48.

In the men’s 50-yard free, Brooks Curry took sixth place in the final with a time of 18.99.

On the diving side, LSU competed in the women’s one-meter. Chiara Pellacani and Montserrat Gutierrez Lavenant qualified for the final session, where Pellacani earned bronze – her second medal of the meet. She had a score of 330.95, the fifth-best score in program history. Lavenant finished in fourth place, narrowly missing a medal.

The 2023 SEC Championships are available to stream on the ESPN app with each prelim and final session being housed on SECN+. Live stats for the meet’s entirety can be found on MeetMobile. Live results on the diving side can be accessed at, which updates after each individual dive.

ORDER OF EVENTS (All Times Central)
Thursday, February 16
9:30 a.m.: Swimming Prelims | Watch
12:30 p.m.: Diving Prelims | Watch
5:30 p.m.: S&D Finals | Watch

Friday, February 17
9:30 a.m.: Swimming Prelims
12:30 p.m.: Diving Prelims
5:30 p.m.: S&D Finals

Saturday, February 18
9:30 a.m.: Swimming Prelims
12:30 p.m.: Diving Prelims
5:30 p.m.: S&D Finals