COLEGE STATION, Texas -- Senior Andrei Tuomola captured LSU's second medal and highlighted the Tigers' 19 top-24 finishes and three program records during the fourth day of competition at the Southeastern Conference Championships in College Station, Texas.
"The goal is always to get second swims and do that every year," Swimming Coach Dave Geyer said. "You always want more for them. Early in the week we talked about building into this meet a little bit better. Today was a strong day for us. We hope to carry the momentum from today and tonight into tomorrow."
After four days of competition, LSU's men are in sixth place with 530.5 points and trail fifth place Missouri by just half a point. Florida has totaled 1038 points and has put Auburn's (second-823.5 points) streak of 16 consecutive SEC Championships in jeopardy.
The Lady Tigers have accumulated 432 points and are also in sixth place. Georgia is in first with 1058 team points.
Tuomola destroyed LSU's 100 breaststroke record in style with a fantastic bronze medal finish and a swim of 53.02. Tuomola's swim bested a 16 year-old record held by former Tiger Nate Thompson and was the third men's record broken on the evening and fourth during the meet (800 freestyle relay on Tuesday). In addition, Tuomola registered a strong NCAA provisional mark.
"Andrei breaking the record again tonight (after breaking it in the prelims) and getting up on podium is pretty exciting for him," Geyer said. "It has been a great senior year for him. We've got a couple more big swims for him tomorrow. I think the momentum is carrying in the right direction for him."
LSU's 400 medley foursome of sophomore Michael Young, freshman Gabe Rooker, sophomore Frank Greeff and Tuomola took fifth with a new school record of 3:10.42. The swim was the men's second NCAA 'A' cut in a relay.
"With some speed that we have shown in our 100 so far, having that 400 medley relay go ahead and knock off that school record was great for those four guys," Geyer said. "With two sophomores, a freshman and a senior in there, with some development in sprint speeds, we should be able to chop that down every year."
Greeff broke the program record in the 200 fly with a time of 1:44.58. Greeff took seventh in the championship final and picked up a strong NCAA 'B' cut. The South African beat Julius Gloeckner's four year-old record.
"When Frank dropped that 1:45.00 flat in the prelims, he said it felt easy and that he could go faster," Geyer said. "Frank being Frank was more disappointed with his finish and didn't realize that his time should get him to NCAA's. We are obviously excited to see that record."
Freshman diver Cassie Weil made her case for SEC Female Freshman Diver of the Year with her second top-eight finish of the meet. Weil totaled a 271.85 on the platform and took sixth after finishing fifth on the three-meter on Tuesday.
"Cassie just rounded out a terrific SEC campaign for her freshman year," Diving Coach Doug Shaffer said. "Two finals, she scored in all three events and was just an excellent competitor all the way through. She learned a lot in these championships."
All four Lady Tiger divers scored points in all three events they have competed in. During the diving prelims, senior Elle Schmidt moved up to LSU's fifth highest score of 243.10 on the platform in an 11th place finish. Freshman Allie Alter took 18th and sophomore Alex Bettridge finished 24th.
"The goal coming in was we wanted to have an LSU diver in every single final and have every single diver score in every event," Shaffer said. "We accomplished that goal. That was something we set out early in the season to work for. We wanted to do our part in the pool."
In the men's consolation final of the 100 back, Young touched the wall first with LSU's fourth best all-time mark of 47.64. Senior Nick Kunkel finished fifth in the 'B' final with a time of 48.07 after notching LSU's fifth best all-time swim of 47.82 in the prelims. Both swims were NCAA provisional cuts.
Junior Torrey Bussey achieved LSU's second fastest ever 100 breast time of 1:00.30 and took second in the consolation final. Bussey's swim was good for an NCAA 'B' cut.
Rooker moved up to third LSU's record book after a third place swim in the consolation final of the 100 breast and a time of 53.85. That was the second occasion the freshman broke the 54-second barrier after going 53.98 in the prelims and he picked up an NCAA 'B' cut in the process.
Junior Ricardo Alvarado Jimenez posted a 55.01 in the consolation final of the 100 breast after swimming a season low of 54.43 in the prelims. His prelim time was an NCAA 'B' cut.
Senior Zack Wepasnick swam in the 'C' final and picked up his lifetime best in the 100 breast with a mark of 55.01, which was an NCAA 'B' cut.
In the women's 100 back, Stirrat ended her consolation final run in seventh with a mark of 54.24. Stirrat's prelim time of 53.96 was an NCAA 'B' cut and placed her third in LSU's record books.
Sophomore Dillon Love finished second in the 'C' final of the 100 back with a time of 48.62. That is LSU's 8th fastest all-time swim.
Freshman Taryn MacKenzie posted a 100 breast mark of 1:02.99 in the 'C' final after earning the last spot in prelims with a time of 1:02.68, which was LSU's fifth lowest all-time swim.
Fellow freshman Caley Oquist swam in the 'C' final and posted a time of 54.43. She snuck into the 'C' finals as the last qualifier when she clocked in LSU's fourth fastest all-time mark of 54.31, an NCAA 'B' cut.
Sophomore Katlin Sepp is now tied for ninth all-time in the program in the 100 back with a time of 55.43.
Tomorrow the athletes will compete in the 100 freestyle, 200 back, 200 breast, 1650 free and the men's platform. Prelims begin at 10 a.m., the mile will begin at 2 p.m. and finals will start at 6 p.m. All times are central.
The SEC Swimming and Diving Championships will air live on ESPN3.com on Saturday at 6 p.m. (CT). The meet will air on tape delay on ESPNU on March 4, with the women's meet beginning at 3 p.m. (CT) and the men's meet beginning at 4:30 p.m. (CT).
Scores through day four:
Women Team Rankings:
1. Georgia, 1058
2. Texas A&M, 985
3. Florida, 852.5
4. Tennessee, 810
5. Auburn, 657
6. LSU, 432
7. Arkansas, 406
8. Missouri, 391
9. Kentucky, 326.5
10. Alabama, 264
11. South Carolina, 192
12. Vanderbilt, 140
Men Team Rankings:
1. Florida, 1038
2. Auburn, 823.5
3. Georgia, 679
4. Tennessee, 570.5
5. Missouri, 531
6. LSU, 530.5
7. Texas A&M, 517.5
8. South Carolina, 444.5
9. Kentucky, 367.5
10. Alabama, 302