Natatorium Packed in Sweep of Alabama
BATON ROUGE, La.- The LSU Swimming and Diving teams swept Alabama at the LSU Natatorium on Friday in front of a packed crowd showing their Tiger spirit before tomorrow night's football game between the two programs in Tiger Stadium.
"Anytime you put LSU and Alabama in a competitive situation there is going to be energy," Diving Coach Doug Shaffer said. "It was a swimming and diving team effort. That is what is going to keep us achieving our goals at the conference and national level. We started the football team off on a good note."
LSU's 22nd ranked Men's team (2-1, 1-1 SEC) defeated Alabama's 20th ranked Men's team (1-2, 0-2 SEC) by a score of 196-104. LSU's 17th ranked Women's team (5-1, 2-1 SEC) beat the Crimson Tide Women's team by a score of 200.5-98.5.
The Tigers utilized the fan's emotions, sparked by LSU student-athletes in attendance for "Tiger Nights," to get out to a dominating start.
"I know that Fran (Flory) and Volleyball came back after we supported them in Auburn, and there were a lot of athletes out there," Swimming Coach Dave Geyer said. "It is great that within this athletic department the support for our student athletes is spread between all teams. To have an environment like that, in a meet like this on a Friday afternoon, you could feel the enthusiasm and the electricity in the building. Our kids fed off that. It gave us a home advantage."
From the onset of the meet, LSU swimmers and divers posted numerous season best marks. In total, LSU won 24 of the 32 possible events, including all four relays.
"It is that progression that we look for and I talk about so much. It is rising to the occasion of SEC competition and Alabama weekend," Geyer said. "We had this meet marked, and we know that it is always going to be a good meet. We set the tone right away. We got the crowd involved. Diving came up huge for us again, and we just kept down on them the whole time."
The women's 400 medley relay team of sophomore Katlin Sepp, junior Torrey Bussey, junior Rainey White and sophomore Amber Carter led off the meet with a LSU Natatorium record tine of 3:43.21 in a first place finish.
The men's 400 medley relay teams grabbed 15 points behind the first place squad of sophomore Michael Young, senior Ricardo Alvarado Jimenez, sophomore Frank Greeff and senior Andrei Tuomola (3:18.18) and the second place group of senior Raymond De Padua, freshman Gabe Rooker, freshman Grant Grenfell and junior Michael Saco (3:18.64).
Alabama swept the 500 and 1000 free events, but LSU's diving team created a huge lift for both teams.
The men's team swept the one-meter even behind Kevin Leong (320.25), Sean McKinney (315.34), Jesse Lyman (275.48) and Daniel Helm (269.78). On the three-meter McKinney (349.73) and Helm (346.80) finished in first and second, respectively.
On the women's three-meter Alabama's Paige McCleary took first, but LSU's Cassie Weil (309.80) and Alex Bettridge (295.20) secured second and third place finishes, respectively. On the one-meter, Bettridge (276.45), Weil (269.33) and senior Elle Schmidt finished 1-2-3.
Bussey went on to earn additional victories in the 100 breast (1:02.13) and the 200 breast (2:16.59). She also swam the lead off leg for the first place 400 free relay team of White, freshman Danielle Stirrat and Carter.
In addition to Carter's victories in the relay events, the sophomore swept the sprint events with a 50 free time of 23.25 and a 100 free time of 51.21.
Junior Sara Haley notched her season low in the 200 butterfly with a time of 1:59.15.
Stirrat earned victory in the 200 back with a mark of 1:59.07. Wood captured the 200 individual medley title with a time of 2:03.66.
On the men's side, senior Craig Hamilton showed significant improvement in the distance events by dropping around four seconds off of his 500 free (4:32.85) and about seven seconds off of his 1000 free (9:21.50).
Greeff secured victory in the 200 fly with a mark of 1:48.73, and swam the final leg of the first place 400 free relay that was led off by Tuomola, Saco, sophomore Dillon Love.
Saco added a victory in the 50 free with a season low 20.18. Tuomola notched a pair of second place swims in the 50 free (20.38) and the 100 free (44.97).
Young swept the backstroke events with a 100 back time of 49.65 and a 200 back time of 1:48.53. De Padua picked up a victory in the 100 fly (49.06) and a second place swim in the 100 back (50.34).
Rooker snagged a first place finish in the 100 breast (55.73) and finished second in the 200 breast (2:02.27). Alvarado Jimenez took first in the 200 breast (2:01.04) and second in the 100 breast (56.06).
"Tiger Nights" is an attempt for all LSU student-athletes to support one another and assist in the increase of student attendance and involvement at athletic events. Teams will be attending events to fight for the new Cox Communications Academic Center for Student Athletes' LSU Tiger Spirit Award, to be awarded at the end of the year. Teams will have the opportunity to attend all sporting events and accumulate points to be totaled at the end of the year.
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