2009 LSU Tigers Men's Swimming and Diving Preview
When looking at the annual finishes of the SEC competitors in swimming and diving, a couple of things strike you about LSU. One is there remarkable consistency. Consistency in that it seems that nearly every season the team is somewhere around, or just below, the midpoint of the conference. And secondarily, and tied to that initial point, it's how a program that has been part of the conference off and on since 1937 could so rarely be either the best or worst team in the conference.
LSU was, in fact, one of the initial founding members of the SEC men's swimming and diving conference back in 1937. However, many people do not realize this because the team left and then came back decades later. Indeed, after a 4 year stretch in which the team performed at a reasonably high level, peaking with a 2nd place finish in 1940, the program left the SEC, only return nearly 30 years later, for the 1969 season. That return season represented one of only 2 last place finishes in the history of this solidly built swimming and diving program (the other came in 1984). From that point on, the program established itself as a good competitor that usually had just 1 or 2 too many holes to legitimately compete.
The golden era of LSU men's swimming and diving came in 1988. That was the one time, the one single season, that the stars aligned, and the men's swimming and diving program became SEC Champions. The team managed to pull off a big upset over the three winningest programs in the history of the conference, Florida, Tennessee, and Auburn, and won the SEC Championship with a strong 616 point total. It remains to date the only SEC Championship for the LSU Tigers, who since then have reverted to their form of finishing between 4th and 6th in the conference most years.
2009 LSU Tigers Women's Swimming and Diving
The LSU women's swimming and diving team has been a member of the Southeastern Conference in swimming and diving since the conference first began competing in the sport in 1981. And when you look at the history of how the team has performed historically since competing as part of the Southeastern Conference, you can see that no other team has had such a wide range of performances, and such an erratic final result in the SEC Championships, as had LSU.
LSU's first season in the SEC Championships, back in 1981, was a fake out to its supporters and fans. The team finished 2nd to champion Florida, and many people that the LSU would ultimately be a big time player in the conference. However, that idea was quickly dismissed over the course of the next 3 seasons, seasons in which LSU finished in last place at the SEC Championships. 1983 was particularly ugly, as LSU only managed 16 total points at the event, to date, the lowest performance of any team in SEC Championships history.
LSU finally seemed to take a step forward in the mid to late 1980's, and the team suddenly began posting finishes ranging from 4th to 6th place on a regular basis at that time. 1997 stands out as a season in which LSU was a serious contender in the SEC, finishing 4th at the SEC Championships, and being a team that had a lot of buzz surrounding it throughout the season. Since then, the team has continued to be a reliable performer in the conference, and except for a brief down spell from 2003-2006, has traditionally been in the middle of the conference come season's end.
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