Celaya-Hernandez Crowned SEC Champion On Platform
Communications Student Assistant
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Juan Celaya-Hernandez was crowned the SEC champion on platform after diving to a school record and SEC meet record score of 496.55 to close out the final day of the SEC Championships at the Allan Jones Aquatic Center.
Celaya-Hernandez was also awarded SEC Diver of the Meet for his three record-breaking performances, winning two silver medals on one and three-meter and taking the gold on platform during the five-day meet.
In all, the freshman broke all three school records on the springboards and platform. A native of Mexico, Celaya-Hernandez has compiled at least 467 points in all three events, holding the top scores by no less than 35 points in each event.
“Juan had a phenomenal meet. What stands out the most is that he was right on the edge of winning one-meter and he was in a position to win three-meter. He did everything he can and fought in every single event to come out victorious,” said head diving coach Doug Shaffer.
“For him to come out and win on platform against an elite-level of competition, it just highlights his hard work, dedication, focus and desire to achieve at that level.”
In the final overall team standings, the women took eighth place with 550 points and the men took ninth overall with 641 points.
For the swimming team, Silas Dejean broke his own school record in the championships of the 200 breaststroke with a time of 1:54.78. Dejean also topped his original school record in the prelims, logging a time of 1:55.25 to qualify for the ‘A’ final.
“I think we did a great job of sustaining energy into this last day and were able to hold on in the standings,” said head swimming coach Dave Geyer.
“You always come to this championship and want more, and I think that’s okay. We want an expectation of excellence, and if you fall short of that, it’s a balance of expectations and reality.”
In the championship final, Leah Troskot clocked at 48.53 in the 100 free for fifth overall.
Makenna Wilson took fifth in the ‘C’ final of the 200 back, coming in at 1:57.58. Wilson also opened up the prelims by recording the fifth-fastest time in school history at 1:57.35 in the event.
Haylee Knight jumped to fifth on LSU’s all-time list in the 100 free after garnering a time of 49.17 in consolation final.
In the 200 breaststroke ‘C’ final, Colleen O’Neil touched the wall at 2:12.27, swimming her way to third.
On the men’s side, Jake Markham grabbed first overall in the consolation final of the 100 free, improving to sixth on LSU’s all-time list in the event with a time of 43.46. Logan Rysemus and
Karl Luht followed Markham in sixth and seventh place with times of 44.31 and 44.38 respectively.
Luht also picked up a personal best in the prelims of the 100 free, touching the wall at 44.07
Garrett House closed out the individual events by placing sixth in the ‘C’ final of the 200 breaststroke, coming in at 1:59.58.
In the 400 free relay final, the women’s team of Troskot, Knight, Kara Kopcso and Summer Spradley took fourth 3:16.52. The men’s team of Markham, Rysemus, Luht and Lewis Clough garnered seventh place, touching the wall at 2:54.26.
Overall, five other swimmers wrapped up prelims by receiving personal bests in individual events.
Kate Zimmer (2:00.69) and Alexandria Ham (1:59.51) both picked up personal bests in the 200 back prelims. In the 100 free, Taylor Anderson swam to her fastest time, clocking at 51.04.
Clough (44.50) and Damen Pheiffer (44.88) also collected personal bests in the 100 free.
In the men’s platform final, Matthew Phillip compiled a career-high score of 412.75 to take fifth overall, moving into fourth on LSU’s all-time list in the event.
Matt McClellan also finished with a career high on platform at 321.90 in the prelims.
“From here, we move on with our athletes that will be going to NCAA’s. The others will get a little break, and then it’s on to the summer season and personal goals,” said Geyer.