LSU’s performance at the SEC Championships proved that the program is moving in the right direction. Multiple underclassmen had strong showings, breaking records and scoring points.
The diving team features a lot of young talent, as the team consists primarily of freshmen and sophomores. Despite the inexperience, they scored well and showed a tremendous amount of potential.
Sophomore Aimee Wilson had a strong performance at the championships, starting off the meet winning a silver medal in the one-meter dive. She placed sixth in the three-meter and placed 10th in the prelims for the platform dive, narrowly missing out on finals.
“Overall, I’m really happy. I improved on every single board from my performance freshman year,” said Wilson. “There were things that I wish I could’ve done better, but I’m really happy coming home with a silver medal.”
The rest of the young squad illustrated their potential too. Freshman Manny Vazquez Baz won a bronze medal in the platform dive, and placed seventh in the three-meter. Another freshman, Hayley Montague, barely missed the three-meter finals, placing ninth in prelims.
“It’s a learning experience,” said Shaffer. “Out of the gate with a young team, with inexperience at a unique meet, it was good. I couldn’t be happier overall.”
On the swimming side, the young athletes shined as well.
Freshman Niamh Robinson qualified for two A-Finals, finishing fifth in the 200-breast and sixth in the 100-breast. She beat her own school record in the 200, swimming a 2:08.37, and swam LSU’s third best time in the 100 with a 59.85.
She was nervous going into the meet, but after swimming the 100, she “knew what to expect” and “was able to remain calm.” She stated that getting fifth in the 200 was “incredible” and was happy with the team’s performance and support for each other.
“We worked well together to create an atmosphere where everyone was able to stay positive, regardless of if people had personal bests or weren’t where they wanted to be,” said Robinson.
Freshman Brooks Curry had a historic performance, earning a multitude of accolades that included a gold and silver medal, and involvement in six broken school records. Other freshmen, Katarina Milutinovich, Summer Stanfield and Olivia Taylor, also scored points for the team.
Robinson felt that the team made a statement for themselves, and that the next few years will be even better. Swim Coach Dave Geyer had similar feelings about their performance.
“Having four freshman score at that meet the first time being there is big,” said Geyer. “It’s not an easy meet to walk into and do that as a freshman. To have that moving forward is exciting.”