The LSU Tigers have a newly-renovated natatorium and will begin a new season on September 26th with their annual purple & gold intrasquad meet in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Meet two is against mid-major, in-state opponent Tulane on October 3rd, for women only, and that’s about the last breather that the Tigers will get all season.
“In this conference you can’t hide from the competition,” LSU swimming coach Dave Geyer said. “We have a lot of meets in the second half of the season to focus on the details and prepare us for SEC’s and NCAA’s.”
“We’re going to start off the season with some serious competition,” LSU diving coach Doug Shaffer said. “We’re excited for the challenging schedule because it forces us to be ready in the beginning of the season. It all prepares us for postseason competition.”
On October 10th, the Tigers travel to face top-5 opponents the Florida Gators, then on October 17th and 18th they’ll race at the SMU Classic – which is one of the true highlight meets of the national schedule of the sprint semester.
Starting in November, LSU will swim a double dual meet against Auburn and Alabama, in Tuscaloosa. For the better part of the last decade, that would be a meet where Auburn would be the key challenger, but after last season, where the Alabama men were 12th at NCAA’s and the Alabama women were 39th (but have started putting underclassmen on the U.S. National Team – like Kaylin Burchell), that’s going to be an incredibly challenging dual from both opponents.
In mid-November, LSU will welcome in Incarnate Word: a former Division II powerhouse program that is currently working on its transition to Division I. That meet will be the intersquad debut of the newly renovated LSU Natatorium. In the offseason, almost $2 million dollars were invested into overhauling the facility. Among the more visible upgrades will be a new deck, a new gutter system, new starting blocks and bulk head, and refacing all of the diving platforms. A lot of electrical and chemical work was done as well that should enhance the meet experience, though it won’t necessarily be immediately obvious.
The pool, which opened in 1985, features a 50 meter pool with a separate diving well – that diving well will host the LSU Diving Invitational from December 15th-17th.
Next up will be the Tigers’ mid-season invite, which will be the Art Adamson Invitational at Texas A&M (another pool that is about to begin renovations and upgrades). That will be one of two trips this season to College Station to race the team that the SEC is pushing as LSU’s big rival across sports: the Aggies.
Coming out of the break, LSU will send their divers to a second diving invitational at Tennessee – which is always one of the major showcases in the region as swimmers gear up for Zone competition.
A week later, LSU will welcome Tennessee’s full squad back to Baton Rouge for a dual meet with the men and women.
The team’s SEC schedule will finish with the aforementioned trip to College Station for a dual meet. Last year, that meet got a ton of attention – for many different reasons. LSU freshman Kara Kopcso got a big confidence boost by beating Cammile Adams in the 200 fly, and Breeja Larson was absent for the Aggies while dealing with a car-accident related injury.
On the men’s side, the LSU men won by 15 points on senior day – after four-straight years of tough losses. If LSU can repeat that dual meet win again this season, they should really start to gain confidence with their place in the college swimming landscape and build that confidence to the SEC Championships.
SEC will be hosted by Auburn this year from February 17th-21st: marking the third-straight year of a five-day conference championship meet. LSU is committed to the Georgia Bulldog Last Chance Meet if they need it a week later, and will dive Zones in Iowa City at the University of Iowa CWRC.
Women’s NCAA’s run from March 19th-21st in Greensboro, North Carolina, while the men’s meet goes from March 26th-28th back in Iowa City.
The LSU women scored 17 points for 36th at NCAA’s last year, while the men scored 7 points for 38th. Both have a lot of youth to build around this coming season, with none of the five NCAA qualifiers graduating. The women, specifically, will be in position to push a medley relay through to the NCAA Championships between Caley Oquist’s backstroke and Amber Carter’s fly.