Gators Swimming and Diving

The Gators men's and women's swimming and diving teams begin SEC play against LSU in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, today. The meet was postponed due to Hurricane Michael. 

The UF swimming and diving teams will be in Baton Rouge, Louisiana this evening, competing against the LSU Tigers, starting at 5 p.m. The dual meet, which will take place at the LSU Natatorium, was originally scheduled for yesterday but was moved due to Hurricane Michael. This will be Florida’s first dual meet since both teams defeated FAU on Sept. 27.

The Gators and Tigers will meet for the first time since the 2014-2015 season when UF swept LSU. The men won 162.5-122.5, while the women managed a 166-134 victory.

The Florida men’s team hasn’t competed since the FAU meet yet still find themselves ranked eighth in the nation. That’s in large part due to the performances from junior Maxime Rooney and freshman Trey Freeman so far this season.

Rooney, the returning All-American, has taken home two individual titles this year, one in the 50-yard freestyle, and the other in the 100-yard butterfly. The Livermore, California, native will look to continue his dominant start against a more formidable opponent in LSU.

Freeman, the talented freshman from Salt Lake City has an individual victory in the 500-yard freestyle under his belt already this season. The performance was good enough to earn him SEC Freshman of the Week. His 500-free time (4:28.77) is currently eighth-best in the country.

The Gators should be greeted with a stiff challenge from undefeated LSU. Karl Luht, a junior from Estonia, has already collected three individual titles through two meets this season, while on the diving side, junior Juan Celaya-Hernandez was named SEC Diver of the Week thanks to his performances during the first two meets.

The No. 19 UF women’s swimming and diving team has yet to be seriously challenged this season, racing out to a quick 3-0 start.

The team’s been led primarily by freshman Mabel Zavaros, who was recently named the SEC Women’s Swimmer of the Week.

Zavaros leads the team with seven individual titles through the first three meets. She currently ranks second in the nation with a 4:16.37 time in the 400-yard individual medley.

After Zavaros, freshman Vanessa Pearl has impressed during the early part of her collegiate career as well. She’s racked up four individual wins so far this year. Pearl also holds the fourth-fastest times in the country in both the 200-yard breaststroke (2:14.06) and the 200-yard individual medley (1:59.82).

Like the men’s team, LSU’s women are also undefeated going into today’s meet. Sophomore Leyre Casarin contributed to all three of the team’s relay victories for the Tigers through two meets. Casarin also added an individual victory with a win in the 100-yard freestyle.

In the diving well, senior Lizzie Cui was named the SEC Women’s Diver of the Week after a clean sweep of both diving events against Navy. Cui should be a good matchup for Florida’s best diver, junior Brooke Madden, who has three first-place finishes this season.


Follow Evan Lepak on Twitter @evanmplepak or contact him at [email protected]


Evan Lepak is a Sports Journalism student at the University of Florida, covering both UF cross country and UF swimming and diving. He has been with the Florida Alligator since Summer 2018.