HOUSTON, Texas, November 18. A sizzling school-record performance from senior Jane Trepp and multiple NCAA provisional qualifying times highlighted a fantastic opening session for the nationally-ranked LSU swimming and diving teams Thursday at the University of Houston's Phil Hansel Cougar Classic Invitational.
The 22nd-ranked Lady Tigers combined to score 306 points to take the lead in the seven-team field, while the 22nd-ranked LSU men stormed out to a commanding 515-253 advantage over Southern Methodist University in the men's standings.
"It was a great evening session for our teams tonight," co-head coach David Geyer said. "We were a bit sluggish in the morning session, but we came back with a nice swagger this evening and really took care of business.
"Jane is swimming very fast right now, and we had multiple ‘B' cuts from several swimmers, so it was a very good effort on Day 1."
Trepp continues to enjoy a phenomenal fall season, posting the fastest time in the nation in the 50-yard freestyle after blistering the field with a school-record and NCAA provisional qualifying time of 22.16 seconds. Fellow All-Americans Amanda Kendall and Samantha Goates finished in second and third with season bests of 23.16 and 23.18, respectively.
In the men's 50 free, sophomore All-American Andrei Tuomola raced to victory with a provisional mark of 19.92, two one-hundredths of a second off his personal best. Freshman Michael Saco took runner-up honors with a 20.56 clocking.
Senior Clint Hallum delivered another ‘B' cut, 1:49.20, in his victory in the 200 individual medley. Sophomores Sean Roddy and Zack Wepasnick helped the Tigers clinch a 1-2-3 finish in that event with times of 1:52.98 and 1:53.19, respectively.
Sophomore Craig Hamilton claimed first-place in the 500 free with a provisional mark and personal best of 4:25.12. Senior Luis Gonzalez was second in that race with a 4:30.91 clocking.
Lady Tiger senior Kannon Betzen and freshman Cari Blalock also recorded their first ‘B' cuts of the season. Betzen registered second in the 200 I.M. with a personal best of 2:01.67, while Blalock won the consolation final of that event with a lifetime best of 2:01.48. Both times rank in LSU's all-time top five.
Furthermore, the Lady Tigers' 200 free relay tandem of Trepp, Kendall, Betzen and Goates took first with a provisional mark of 1:30.25, while the 400 medley relay team of Jana Ruimerman, Torrey Bussey, Trepp and Kendall won with a ‘B' cut of 3:40.08.
On the men's side, the 200 free tandem of Tuomola, Hannes Heyl, Eric Zeller and Saco seized the victory with a provisional mark of 1:21.16, and the 400 medley relay foursome of James Meyers, Tuomola, Heyl and Saco emerged victorious with a provisional mark of 3:16.61.
In diving, the foursome of Daniel Helm, Sean McKinney, Brian Gemberling and Matt Vieke delivered a 1-2-3-4 LSU finish in the men's three-meter.
Helm dove to a career-high score of 369.10 to capture the victory, while McKinney posted his own career high of 362.65 to earn second. Gemberling placed third with a 340.25 score, and Vieke was fourth (309.70).
Sophomore Rebecca St. Germain led the women's diving efforts with a runner-up finish in the three-meter (291.25).
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