LSU'S WEIL WINS PLATFORM ON FINAL DAY OF GEORGIA INVITE
ATHENS, Ga. -- LSU diver Cassie Weil posted a score of 299.10 to take first on the platform final during the final day of the UGA Diving Invite. Senior Alex Bettridge also finished in fifth place with 244 points. It’s her third top-five finish on the weekend.
On the men’s platform, Kevin Leong finished seventh (326.30) and Sean McKinney finished eighth (322.15). Leong’s score is another season high earned over the weekend.
“We had an excellent day on platform today,” LSU Diving coach Doug Shaffer said. “We are tired and a bit beat up from three long days of competition, but we never lost our focus. Cassie’s winning performance was exceptional and a great way to finish our competition in Athens.”
Freshmen Katie Lagarde finished 26th (156) and Zakary Rowton finished 15th with a score of 263.15 on platform.
The men’s swimming and diving team returns to the LSU Natatorium after a two-month break this week. The Tigers take on the SMU Mustangs Thursday, January 9 at 2 p.m. Both the men and women will then compete in the LSU Relays against Oklahoma Baptist Saturday, January 11 at 11 a.m.
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McKean Wins Platform Title at Georgia Diving Invitational
ATHENS, Ga. -- Junior Fraser McKean wrapped up the Georgia Diving Invitational on Sunday with his first win of the season, taking the title in the men's platform final with a score of 387.80 at the Gabrielsen Natatorium.
McKean's score is the second-best score by the junior in his Auburn career on the platform. Last season, McKean posted a 388.10 at the Auburn Diving Invite to earn a personal-best. The junior's win and season-best performance on Sunday concluded a strong weekend for the Victoria, British Columbia, Canada native. McKean finished third in Saturday's 1-meter springboard final and his score on the platform was 21 points higher than his nearest competitor.
Senior John Santeiu IV provided the Tigers with a runner-up finish by scoring 366.25 as Auburn took the top-two spots in the men's platform final. Sophomore Justin Youtsey was 11th with a 288.25. Auburn got a 16th-place finish out of Michael Beran's 251.15.
For the Auburn women, junior Cinzia Calabretta continued her run of strong performances, finishing third in the women's platform final with a 263.25 on her five-dive list. Calabretta was Auburn's top-finisher in all three events over the weekend. Junior Shanna Schuelein placed sixth with a 241.20.
Auburn's divers rejoin the full squad on Thursday as the spring dual meet season begins on the road at Texas. The Tigers face the longtime rival Longhorns at the Lee and Joe Jamail Swimming Center in Austin at 11 a.m. The dual will be broadcasted live on the Longhorn Network.
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Blank Finishes Second on Sunday
ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia’s Ann-Perry Blank placed second in the women’s platform as the Georgia diving teams wrapped up action in the Georgia Diving Invitational at Gabrielsen Natatorium Sunday afternoon.
“It was a great weekend,” Georgia diving coach Dan Laak said. “It’s always good to get the second semester going with a meet. I thought we did a great job all weekend. Anne Perry finished second today and did a great job and Spencer had a great effort this morning, especially after having been under the weather. Overall, I think we performed well and it sets up everything for the rest of the season.”
Blank scored a 264.55 to finish in second place. LSU’s Cassie Weil won the event with 291.70. Auburn’s Cinzia Calabretta placed third with 263.25. Georgia’s Darcie O’Brien finished ninth with 213.85.
On the men’s side, the Bulldogs’ Spencer Madanay placed 12th with 279.80. Auburn’s Fraser Mckean and John Santeiu finished first (387.70) and second (366.25), respectively. Devin Burnett of SMU finished third (363.10).
Earlier in the weekend, Ryan and Blank finished first and second, respectively, on the 3-meter springboard. Ryan also finished second on the 1-meter springboard.
Lera Takes Fourth on Platform
ATHENS, Ga. -- Sophomore Samantha Lera placed fourth on the 10-meter platform Sunday to finish the Georgia Diving Invitational.
Lera scored 259.45 during her five-dive list. It was her second top-10 finish of the meet, having placed 10th Saturday on the 3-meter springboard.
"I was pleased for the most part with our performance," Tennessee diving coach Dave Parrington said. "Samantha had a very consistent list of dives in a very close competition between second through fourth. There were a couple mistakes that we can fix before SECs."
Freshman Gaffney Taylor finished 14th, her best place of the meet, with a score of 193.35.
"Today was Gaffney's first outing on the platform in college and her first platform competition since she was 14 or 15," Parrington said. "It's a good measuring stick for her and myself."
The top nine divers in the women's contest were from SEC squads. Cassie Weil of LSU won by nearly 30 points with a score of 291.70.
On the men's side, freshman Michael Howell also placed 14th on platform with a six-dive score of 263.60. Lee Fullam was 22nd in 203.40.
"Even though Michael's score on tower was a little lower than last time, he performed three brand-new dives today and hit two of them," Parrington said.
Redshirt senior Tori Lamp performed a brand-new dive to start the platform competition. Lamp, who is returning from a shoulder injury, was scratched from her remaining dives as a precaution. Parrington said it was important to try that dive in a competition at Gabrielsen Natatorium, where the SEC Championships will be held next month.
Lamp, the reigning national diver of the year, made the finals in both the 1-meter and 3-meter springboard.
Redshirt sophomore Mauricio Robles did not compete because of attending a funeral of a family member in his home country of Mexico.
Alabama Diver Luke Zippi Posts Top-10 Finish to Close out Georgia Invitational
ATHENS, Ga. -- Alabama diver Luke Zippi closed out the Georgia Invitational with a 10th place finish off the platform Sunday afternoon in Athens, Ga. The senior scored 293.75 points over the course of six dives to earn his best finish of the weekend.
On the women’s side of the meet, senior Paige McCleary took 12th place off the platform with a score of 205.75 over five dives. Earlier in the weekend, McCleary won the 1-meter board and was fifth off the 3-meter board.
The Alabama swimming and diving teams will compete in their first combined meets of the New Year on Saturday, Jan. 11 at 11 a.m. in the Alabama Aquatic Center against Southeastern Conference foes Kentucky and Arkansas.
Ferrucci Fifth, Keahey Seventh and Fox Ninth at UGA Invite
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- After back-to-back finals appearances in the first two events at the Georgia Diving Invitational, University of Kentucky divers Greg Ferrucci, Lindsay Keahey and John Fox each posted top-10 finishes on platform in Athens, Ga., Sunday.
Ferrucci placed fifth and Keahey came in seventh, their highest finishes at the three-day event. Fox notched a ninth-place finish after a pair of top-10 showings Friday and Saturday.
Ferrucci scored a 337.95 and placed fifth, UK’s highest finish of the weekend. On Friday and Saturday, the senior advanced to the finals in the 3- and 1-meter and finished 12th and 10th, respectively.
Keahey scored a 223.65 in the women’s platform competition to place seventh. The junior recorded a 12th-place finish in both the 1- and 3-meter finals on the first two days.
After placing eighth and ninth in the finals of the 3- and 1-meter, Fox capped the weekend with a 298.70 in the men’s platform to place ninth.
Also in the men’s platform, Zach Peterson finished 13th with a score of 274.35, and Noah Richter placed 23rd with a 202.15.
The spring season officially begins for the entire team next weekend, when the Wildcats travel to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to race SEC-foes Alabama and Arkansas on Jan. 11.
For complete news and updates on the Kentucky Swimming and Diving program, go to UKathletics.com/SwimmingDiving. Breaking news, behind-the-scenes updates, photos and more can be found on Twitter at @UKSwimDive and Facebook at Facebook.com/UKSwimDive.