BATON ROUGE, La.- In a hotly contested matchup that featured two future SEC foes, Texas A&M's 11th ranked women (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) and men (5-0) both defeated LSU's 21st ranked women (2-3, 1-1 SEC) and 18th ranked men (1-4, 1-1 SEC) at the LSU Natatorium on Saturday in the final home meet of the season.
Despite the final men's (167.5-132.5) and women's (181-115) scores, the Tigers presented themselves with an opportunity to improve going forward, as shown by a plethora of first place finishes.
"Performance wise I was pleased, but obviously point wise it did not turn out the way I wanted it to be," Swimming Coach Dave Geyer said. "We've got to take away a lot because this was the first racing opportunity in over two months. We've got a little bit more work to do in the water and a little bit more work to do before the SEC Championships."
"On the women's side, the next step is moving on. We have a two-day meet next week in Houston. We've just got to move forward and fine tune before our conference championships."
The Tigers were unable to deliver a victory for their departing seniors, swimmers Samantha Goates, Simon Diefenthal, Martin Jungfleisch, Rick Duran and Steffen Volkel and diver Matt Vieke, however, that did not prevent the seniors from partaking in the annual ritual of climbing to the top of the platform and jumping off as a unit.
"It is something that was started well before I got here," Geyer said. "The seniors like to sort of do their last sort of hurrah, and go up on the platform in their warm-up gear and jump off. The divers have a little bit more finesse than the swimmers. Usually some of the swimmers stand up there and shake for a little. It is something that we've been doing since I've been here, so probably long before that."
The Tigers women's side swept the sprint freestyle events behind Goates's 50-free time of 23.44 and junior Swimmer Amanda Kendall's 100-free mark of 49.89.
Kendall also placed first in the 100 butterfly (54.76) and 200 free with a time of 1:47.88, which was .03 seconds away from the LSU Natatorium record that she set earlier in the season.
"Kendall was really pushed in her races," Geyer said. "It was good to see her respond to that. To get down and race, that is what I probably like the most about her. As we move forward to the SEC Championships, the NCAA Championships and Olympic Trials, she is a racer and she is going find a way to get her hand on the wall first."
Craig Hamilton swept the men's distance free events with marks of 4:28.14 in the 500 free and 9:21.19 in the 1000 free.
Sophomore Michael Saco delivered a first place performance in the 50 free with a personal season low mark of 20.33.
Sophomore Ricardo Alvarado Jimenez notched a first place finish in the 200 breaststroke to keep LSU alive late in the meet with a mark of 2:00.79. He also posted his season low in the 400 individual medley with a time of 4:02.57.
Junior swimmer Sara Haley earned gold in the 200 fly with a mark of 1:57.78.
Junior swimmer Nick Kunkel finished first in the 200 backstroke with a time of 1:49.90 as well.
The diving side of things witnessed a battle of two of the most talented corps in the nation.
Freshman diver Alex Bettridge broke the LSU school record in the three-meter dive with a total of 344.40 in a third place finish and also had a personal high on the one-meter (293.65). Texas A&M senior Jaele Patrick broke the LSU Natatorium record in the three-meter with her first place finish.
Aggie Australian Olympian hopeful Grant Nel broke the LSU Natatorium record on the one-meter dive with a mark of 410.05. Vieke narrowly missed out on the LSU school record in three-meter as well and ended up with a score of 368.10 and a second place finish behind Nel.
"He has just been a tremendous student athlete, leader and role-model," Diving Coach Shaffer said of Vieke. "He has been a model student athlete and a four year student. He has just been a pleasure to have around and as a part of the program. He is a great representative of a great student athlete."
Following sophomore Jesse Lyman's performance on the three-meter (332.95), all seven of LSU's divers met qualifying marks for the NCAA Zone Regionals, which will take place in Iowa City, Iowa in the beginning of March.
The women will return to action next week as they travel to Houston, Texas for a two-day meet against Tulane, Houston and Rice.
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