BATON ROUGE, Jan. 13. THE LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY women's swimming and diving team upset the 24th-ranked team in the nation on Saturday by posting a brilliant 133-109 victory over the Texas A&M Aggies in front of a large crowd at the LSU Natatorium.
"This is a huge win for our women's team," said LSU head coach Jeff Cavana. "I've been coaching here for 11 years, and I think that this is probably the biggest win for one of our women's teams. We have been really short-handed this season, but today they definitely stepped it up. I am really proud of them."
In the Lady Tigers' second-meet of the day, the team took on the 23rd-ranked Kentucky Wildcats. The lead changed hands throughout the meet several times, but the Wildcats' depth was the deciding factor at the end of the contest and Kentucky won, 128-114.
After splitting Saturday's double-dual meet, the LSU women's team possesses an overall record of 6-3. All three losses have come against Southeastern Conference opponents. The Lady Tigers are 0-3 versus SEC competition this season.
The LSU men's swimming and diving team was defeated by both Texas A&M and Kentucky on Saturday. Texas A&M, the third-ranked team in the nation, was victorious over the Tigers, 140-103,while Kentucky won, 134-109. Kentucky's men's team is currently the 23rd-ranked team in the nation.
"We knew coming into the meet that Texas A&M had a very good team," explained Cavana. "I knew that they would be tough to beat, but I also thought that with a perfect meet we could have beaten Kentucky. It just didn't work out that way."
With the losses, the Tigers fall to a 5-2 record on the season and picked up their only loss in SEC
competition. The LSU men's team is 0-1 in the SEC.
Texas A&M's men's team remained undefeated and improved to 6-0 this season, while the Aggie
women dropped to 5-3 with their third-straight loss.
The Lady Cats now boast a 3-3 record, while the Kentucky men's team picked up both a win and a
loss. The Wildcat men have accumulated a 4-1 dual-meet record this season.
The Lady Tigers' top performers in Saturday's meet were Mandy Leach, Jaime Watkins and Lindsey
Leach won both the 200-yard freestyle competition (1:50.92) and the 200-yard individual medley event (2:05.20). She was a split-second away from her third victory of the meet in the 100-freestyle competition, but was beat out by Kentucky's Jaime Siegele. Siegele finished in 50.72. Leach ended with a time of 50.99.
Mooney, who is one of the captains of the 2000-01 version of the Lady Tigers, dominated the 200-yard butterfly event with a time of 2:03.51 and placed second in the 200-backstroke competition (2:05.15).
In the diving competition, LSU's Watkins led a trio of Lady Tigers to a sweep in the three-meter event. She took first place with a score of 303.80, while teammates Ashley Culpepper (300.85) and Barb Gorst (291.45) finished second and third, respectably.
"We had a lot of girls step up today and turn in some good performances," Cavana said. "I think that of course Mandy and Lindsey did awesome, Julie (Hughes) did a great job, and Chere (Richards), Donna (Leslie), and Kelli (Klein) swam extremely well."
On the men's side of the meet, freshman Ross Buffington turned in a spectacular win in the 1000-yard
freestyle competition (9:21.63) and placed second in the 500-freestyle event (4:31.50).
The LSU men's and women's swimming and diving teams will next be in action Saturday, January 20,at home in the LSU Natatorium versus Georgia. The meet is the final home contest of the season and will begin at 4 p.m. The LSU senior swimmers and divers will be honored before the meet on Senior Day.