Seventh Heaven: LSU’s Celaya-Hernandez claims seventh career SEC title

LSU's Juan Celeya-Hernandez (with gold medal) celebrates with his teammates. PHOTO BY: LSU swimming and diving Twitter.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – LSU diver Juan Celaya-Hernandez has cemented himself as one of the best divers in SEC history after claiming his seventh-career SEC Championship at the Jones Aquatic Center on the University of Tennessee’s campus.

This was his third SEC title on platform during his LSU career.

“This is a surprise, definitely,” Celaya-Hernandez said after earning gold. “I am not a tower diver, everybody knows it. It is a grateful surprise because I also won here my freshman year, on the tower, and I set the SEC record so, I was pretty happy.”  

The Tigers had eight swimmers compete in the Friday night finals. To begin the night, Hannah Bellina and Jenna Bridges both swam in the ‘C’ final for the 200-yard fly. Bridges finished second in the consolation final with a time of 1:57.07. Bellina finished in eighth place with a time of 1:59.27. Bridges time moves her up to No. 3 on the event’s top-10 times.

For the men in the 100-yard back, Griffin Curtis claimed fifth place with a time of 48.03 and Nicholas Toepfer finished in the seventh spot for the consolation final with a time of 48.66.

In the 100-yard breaststroke, Emilie Boll placed 13th after qualifying for the ‘B’ final. Her time of 59.92 gave her some more cushion in her ninth-ranked time in the event in LSU’s program history. Abby Maoz claimed 18th place in the event with a time of 1:00.90.

Mitch Mason, the school record holder in the 100-yard breaststroke, qualified for the ‘A’ final with a prelim time of 52.51. In the finals, he followed it up with a better time, finishing in seventh place with a time of  52.46. Aaron Parrott competed in the ‘C’ final for the event in eighth place with a time of 54.33.

In the 400-yard medley relay, the women placed 11th with a time of 3:36.27 and the men claimed seventh place with a time of 3:07.31. Brooks Curry, the anchor of the event, swam the freestyle leg and clocked a split of 19.08, finishing with a time of 40.93.

The Tigers return to the Jones Aquatic Center for the final day of the SEC Championships Saturday at 8:30 a.m. for prelims.

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