BATON ROUGE, LA, January 30. THE LSU swimming and diving teams closed out the dual-meet schedule on a positive note, sweeping past Delta State and UL-Monroe in front of the largest crowd in LSU Natatorium history on Saturday's Senior Day, reported the Tigers.
The LSU men defeated Delta State, 95-42 and beat in-state rival UL-Monroe, 81-53. The LSU women also earned a sweep, posting a 92-42 score over the Statesmen and a 92-28 tally over the Indians.
Before the meet, 15 Tiger seniors were honored and joined by their family and friends in a special ceremony.
"It was great to have such a large senior class that had that LSU tradition," said head coach Adam Schmitt. "It will be hard to see them go, but on the other hand, I challenged the whole team today to swim well for the seniors. They stepped up and delivered. From the freshmen to the seniors, everyone performed well today."
The 275 fans in attendance were part of Super Tiger Weekend, which features 14 events held on the LSU campus this weekend and concludes with the top-ranked Lady Tigers' basketball team taking on Auburn tomorrow at 2 p.m.
"I think the crowd was great and it brought some attention to the program," said Schmitt. "People can see us swim well and see what we are trying to accomplish here."
LSU jumped out to an early lead, winning the first five events. It was started by the Lady Tigers' 200 medley relay team of Lindsay Staak, Lauren Harvey, Heather Brand and Colleen Bertirotti. The group posted an LSU Natatorium record time of 1:42.72 to take first-place honors and earn a NCAA "B" cut. The mark was also the 13th-fastest clocking in the nation and the third-fastest in the Southeastern Conference this season.
In the first individual event, the Tigers swept the women's 1000 freestyle with Hannah Martin, Jenna Molinski and Alice Hardesty taking first, second and third, respectively. Myles Jaynes closed out the final meet of his career with a victory in the men's heat of the 1000 free, swimming a time of 9:33.24.
Bertirotti was one of seven double-winners on Saturday. Bertirotti, who also won two events on Friday, swam times of 1:54.92 and 51.94 in the 200 and 100 freestyle events to take top honors.
Kevin Braud captured the men's 100 backstroke (49.68) and then followed that up with a victory in the 200 back (1:46.94). Staak won the women's 100 back in a time of 57.46.
Also earning NCAA "B" cut times on the day were Heather Brand in the women's 50 free (23.54) and Miko Malberg in the men's 50 free (20.27). Malberg also took top honors in the 100 free with a time of 45.64.
Christian Clausen won the 100 and 200 breaststroke in times of 56.78 and 2:05.62. Also collecting two individual victories was Lauren Harvey. Harvey closed out her senior dual-meet campaign with wins in the 100 breaststroke (1:03.76) and 200 breaststroke (2:19.81).
Mallory Neltner earned a first-place finish for the second straight day, posting a winning time of 2:05.44 in the 200 back, while senior Margot Gathings won the 200 fly with a clocking of 2:05.55.
Freshman Niko Dalman swept both men's diving events, winning the 3-meter with a score of 318.60 and the 1-meter with a mark of 311.20. Andrew Keane qualified for the NCAA Zone Regionals with a third-place showing in the 1-meter (291.40).
Despite competing two days in a row, senior Jessica Wantz closed out her final home meet with another pair of victories, running her winning streak to 12 consecutive events. She posted winning scores of 281.95 and 314.75 in the 1-meter and 3-meter.
"She has had a very successful dual-meet season," said diving coach Doug Shaffer. "The divers as a whole of accomplished what we wanted them to. The entire team is qualified for the NCAA Zones. You put all these things together, I am happy and optimistic for the championship season."
LSU will prepare for the SEC Championships, which get underway with men's and women's diving on Friday, Feb. 11 in Gainesville, Fla. The swimming portion of the meet begins on Wednesday, Feb. 16.