Katarina Milutinovich, a 2023 NCAA Championships qualifier in the 200 free relay, will be returning to LSU for her fifth year of eligibility. She is listed on LSU’s 2023-24 roster and competed at the team’s intrasquad meet on Saturday.
Last season, Milutinovich, a native of Serbia, led off LSU’s SEC-winning 200 and 400 free relays, which were their first SEC relay wins since 1986. She then led off her team’s 200 free relay at NCAAs, posting a personal best time of 22.24 in the 500 free. She was a participant in the 400 free relay at NCAAs as well, but that relay had been DQed.
In addition, Milutinovich also scored 37 individual points at SECs by finishing 10th in the 50 free (22.29), 13th in the 100 free (48.73), and 19th in the 200 free (1:46.37).
Milutinovich’s Best Times:
- 50 free: 22.24
- 100 free: 48.41
- 200 free: 1:45.76
With last season’s LSU relay heavyweight Maggie MacNeil gone as well as Peyton Curry, another 200 free relay member, transferring to South Carolina, the Tigers will have trouble replicating their relay results from SECs and NCAAs last year. However, as the fastest returning 50 and 100 freestyler on the team, Milutinovich will continue to be a critical relay piece. Her best times are also very close to what it took to get an invite individually at the 2023 NCAA Championships (22.15 in the 50 free, 48.37 in the 100 free, 1:45.31 in the 200 free), so returning this season will give her one last shot at earning an individual swim at the big dance.
LSU may have taken a big hit with the loss of MacNeil, but this team is still on an upward trend. In addition to Milutinovich, NCAA swimming qualifiers Megan Barnes, Jenna Bridges, Michaela de Villiers, and Ella Varga all return, in addition to NCAA-scoring divers Montserrat Lavenant. de Villiers and Barnes were both on the NCAA-qualifying 200 and 400 free relays. Even without a big star to be the “face” of their program, the Tiger women are still a very complete team, and it wouldn’t come as a surprise if they continue to improve and retain a spot in the top 25 in the third season of the Rick Bishop era.