KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Both the LSU men's and women's swimming and diving teams are off to an impressive third place start after the first day of competition at the SEC Championships hosted at the Allan Jones Aquatic Center in Knoxville, Tenn.
The men have 73 points under their belt and sit tied in third place with Georgia and trail first place Auburn and Tennessee. The women have a slight edge in third with 74 points and are behind only Tennessee and Auburn.
The first day of competition witnessed the 200 medley relays, 800 freestyle relays, men's three-meter dive and the women's one-meter dive. Tomorrows events will start the individual swims.
"We certainly have some expectations for the individual part of the competition," Swimming Coach Dave Geyer said. "We'll wake up in the morning and be ready to go."
The men's 200 medley relay led off by freshman Michael Young followed by juniors Andrei Tuomola and Martin Jungfleisch and sophomore Michael Saco set the tone for LSU in the day's first final. The Tigers notched a season best 1:26.73 to earn a NCAA 'B' Cut.
The men's 800 freestyle relay was even more impressive behind gutsy swims by freshmen Frank Greeff and Dillon Love, as well as juniors Craig Hamilton and Nick Kunkel. The season low time of 6:28.85 earned a NCAA 'B' Cut and missed the school record by .02 seconds.
"Really both the freestyle relays on the men's and the women's side were really good," Geyer said. "On the men's side to have Frank Greeff lead off in his first SEC race, he threw out a lifetime best split, was fantastic. Another freshman in Dillon Love had an exceptional swim as well. It was terrific for those guys to take on the pressure like an amateur in the meet and really thrive."
The women's 200 medley relay behind junior Rainey White, sophomore Torrey Bussey, junior Amanda Kendall and senior Samantha Goates notched a mark of 1:38.68 in a sixth place finish. The 800 free relay consisted of Kendall, juniors Sara Haley, Sally Wood and White cranked out a time of 7:13.24 in a sixth place finish. Both marks punched out NCAA 'B' Cuts.
Freshman diver Alex Bettridge posted a lifetime best score on the one-meter with a score of 302.60 in a sixth place finish in her post-season debut. That score places Bettridge in sole possession of sixth place in program history in the one-meter.
Fellow diver Elle Schmidt earned her highest one-meter post-season score and highest finish (10th) in her three-year career with a mark of 269.25.
"Alex performance today was phenomenal," Coach Doug Shaffer said. "She competed with the SEC's elite. She was the only freshman in the women's one-meter final. She put up a personal best score. This will definitely give her confidence moving forward into the three-meter and platform."
On the men's three-meter springboard, sophomore Sean McKinney out scored his Tiger teammates with a total of 337.50 in an 11th place finish. He was followed in 12th and 13th by sophomore Daniel Helm and senior Matt Vieke respectively.
"Sean really rose and competed really well," Shaffer said. "He had one dive that narrowly missed. He was our most solid performer. It was realistic for us to have two or three divers in the finals in the three-meter event, but we did not perform at that level today."
Live video and stats can be found using the following links:
For more information on the SEC Championships, please visit LSUsports.net; follow @LSUSwimDive on Twitter or 'like' LSU Swimming and Diving on Facebook.
As a reminder, The SEC Championships will be re-aired on Monday and Tuesday of next week on ESPNU beginning at 4 p.m. (CT).
Women - Team Rankings - Through Event 6
1. Tennessee 118
2. Auburn 101
3. LSU 74
4. Georgia 72
5. South Carolina 67
6. Florida 66
7. Arkansas 59
8. Alabama 58
9. Vanderbilt 32
10. Kentucky 30
Men - Team Rankings - Through Event 6
1. Auburn 106
1. Tennessee 106
3. LSU 73
3. Georgia 73
5. Kentucky 71
6. Florida 67
7. South Carolina 63
8. Alabama 24