Lance Asti, who spearheaded the LSU swimming sprint group to unprecedented success in 2010-11, enters his second season as an assistant coach and the recruiting coordinator of the men’s and women’s programs.
Under Asti’s direction this past year, the LSU sprint ranks enjoyed arguably its finest collective season in more than two decades as the swimmers in his training group produced five NCAA first-team All-America honors, an individual Southeastern Conference championship, an SEC record, four All-SEC selections and 11 medal finishes at the conference meet.
Senior Jane Trepp emerged into one of the nation’s premier sprinters with Asti’s guidance, becoming the first Lady Tiger swimmer to win an SEC title since 1997 when she broke the league record in the 100-yard breaststroke (58.94 seconds) at the 2011 SEC Championships.
The All-SEC First-Team performer was also the first swimmer in program history to earn first-team All-America accolades in all three of her individual events in a single season as she captured top-eight finishes in the 50 freestyle, 100 butterfly and 100 breaststroke at the NCAA Championships. She also set new school records in all three events in her senior season.
Trepp’s SEC-record mark in the 100 breast put her in elite company as one of only nine swimmers in U.S. Open history to break the 59-second mark in the event, while her school-record 21.97 clocking in the 50 free was the first sub-22 second time in program annals.
The Estonian also shined internationally, proving to be a world-class short-course performer with a fourth-place finish in the 100-meter individual medley at the 2010 FINA World Championships.
While Trepp’s success was exceptional, the development of sophomore Amanda Kendall into one of the top underclassmen at both the national and conference levels was also remarkable. A four-time SEC medalist and All-SEC Second-Team performer, Kendall joined Trepp as a first-team All-American in the 100 butterfly, claimed honorable mention All-America honors in the 50 and 100 free and broke school marks in the 100 and 200 free.
At the conclusion of the season, both Trepp and Kendall boasted top times ranked in the nation’s top 10 in their three best races.
Under Asti’s guidance, Kendall emerged on the International scene after her performances at the 2011 ConocoPhillips US Nationals and the 2011 Pan American Games.
Kendall achieved three Pan Am Games records in the 4×100-meter free (3:40.66), 4×200-meter free (8:01.18) and 4×100-meter medley (4:01.00) relay. She also earned a gold medal in the 100 free with a lifetime best of 54.75. Her 100 free mark was the seventh fastest time in the 100 free by an American in the 2011 cycle. Her mark puts her in position to swim a top-six time at Olympic Trials, which would qualify her for the London Olympics.
Kendall qualified for the Pan Am Games after setting four lifetime bests and placing in four finals at the 2011 National Championships. She made the ‘A’ Final and finished seventh overall with a time of 55.08 in the 100m free and competed in the consolation finals of the 50m free (25.84), 100m butterfly (1:00.00) and 200m free (2:00.14).
On the men’s side, senior Hannes Heyl raced to his first career first-team All-America honor after advancing to the championship final of the 100 fly at NCAA’s with a program record of 45.77 and registered the program’s second-fastest time in the 100 free, 43.39.
Internationally, Heyl stood out at the 2011 German World Championship Trials where he took runner-up honors in the 50-meter fly with a FINA ‘A’ cut and world top-10 time of 23.57.
At SEC’s, the German swam to third-place in the 100 fly and reached the ‘A’ final of the 100 backstroke after qualifying with a personal best of 47.15, third in school history.
Sophomore Andrei Tuomola also contributed significantly to the men’s efforts at SEC’s, delivering a top-eight finish in the 50 free with a personal best and program top-10 mark of 19.71, while racing to sixth in the 100 breast (53.99).
In relay competition, the Lady Tiger sprinters established themselves as a force to be reckoned with at SEC’s as Trepp, Kendall and fellow sprinter Samantha Goates, a two-time honorable mention All-American in 2011, teamed with backstroker Jana Ruimerman to post an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 1:36.91 in the 200 medley relay en route to a silver-medal finish at the conference meet.
The sprint trio along with senior Kannon Betzen also led the Lady Tigers to a bronze finish and school record in the 200 free relay (1:28.98) at SEC’s. Both relays finished in the top 10 nationally at NCAA’s.
In addition, there was not a more prolific women’s tandem in the conference in the 50 free than the trio of Trepp, Kendall and Goates as each qualified for the SEC championship final of that race last season, the most of any team in the league.
Prior to LSU, Asti served as the sprint coach and recruiting coordinator for the Clemson men’s and women’s programs in four seasons where he helped numerous sprinters enjoy significant success and led the program to two consecutive top-25 recruiting classes. During his time at Clemson, Asti helped sprinters qualify for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials, 2009 World Championship Trials and NCAA Championships.
In 2008-09, he guided women’s swimmer Rachel Regone to her third straight Atlantic Coast Conference silver medal in the 50-yard freestyle and a school-record time of 22.24, while also helping the women’s 200 free relay attain honorable mention All-America status and a school-record time (1:29.56). In 2007-08, he coached the women’s 200 free relay to its second consecutive ACC title with an ACC-record and NCAA automatic qualifying mark of 1:30.60.
On the men’s side, Asti led Eric Lane to a school record in the 100 breaststroke (54.70) and numerous swimmers to program top-10 times. During the 2007-08 season, the men’s 200 free relay recorded a school record and the fastest time in the conference for the season (1:18.94), while three of his sprinters placed in the top-eight at the ACC Championships in the 100 free.
No stranger to SEC competition, Asti was a decorated swimmer and student-athlete at the University of Tennessee where he earned NCAA honorable mention All-America honors, Academic All-America status and was a finalist for the prestigious SEC H. Boyd McWhorter Postgraduate Scholarship as well as the university’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 1999-2000. He graduated from Tennessee with a degree in Child Development in 2001.
After his career at Tennessee, Asti enrolled in Ohio University where he earned a Master of Science in Coaching Education and served as a graduate assistant coach with the swimming and diving team. Following his tenure with Ohio University, Asti gained experience on the club level, coaching for the Lexington (Ky.) Dolphins program.
Asti is married to the former Elizabeth Flynt, and the couple has three children – Bryden, Gaines and Campbell.
The Lance Asti File
Born: July 18, 1979, in Miami, Fla.
Hometown: Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
College: University of Tennessee; B.S. in Child Development, 2001; Ohio University, M.S. in Coaching Education, 2003
Wife: Elizabeth Asti
Children: Bryden (6), Gaines (4), Campbell (2)