Welcome to the first two categories of our Tiger Rag High Five, the best combined men’s and women’s swimmer or diver as well as the best defunct sports athlete.
A 15-member media panel with a collective 582 years of sports journalism experience picked LSU’s five best athletes, coaches, moments, and individual game and season performances in 21 categories covering all present and past sports.
Voters on the panel were provided information of six to 10 nominees and were asked to rank one through five. The panel voters could also write-in their own candidates.
Scoring was tallied as 5 points for a first-place vote, 4 for second-place, 3 for third-place, 2 for second place and 1 for last-place. Ties were not broken.
Here we go. . .
Best combined men’s and women’s swimmer or diver
LSU has won one men’s SEC swimming and diving title in 1988 but has never won a women’s league championship.
The winner of the best combined men’s and women’s swimmer or diver is. . .
Lucy Findlay 48 (4 first place votes)
From 1993 to 1997, Findlay was a 14-time All-American, still the tops of any LSU women swimmer or diver ever. As a freshman and as a fifth-year senior, she won the Commissioner’s Trophy as high scorer in the SEC championships.
The first time in 1993, she scored 60 points becoming the only LSU swimmer or diver to ever win three individual SEC championship events – the 200-yard breaststroke, the 200-yard intermediate and 400-yard intermediate.
Then in 1997, she scored 57 points, setting SEC records in winning the 200-yard intermediate and the 400-yard intermediate. She finished second in the 200-yard breaststroke.
Findlay is the only LSU swimmer, male or female, to be named SEC Swimmer of the Year. That was in ‘’97 when the LSU women finished fourth in the SEC, something Tigers haven’t done since. LSU’s best SEC team finish is second in 1981.
2. Rick Meador 44 (6)
Eight-time All-American, 1979 SEC champion, 1980 LSU Athlete of the Year
3. Todd Torres 42 (2)
A 13-time All-American, three-time SEC champ and an NCAA champion (1987)
4. Adam Schmitt 29 (1)
13-time All-American, five-time SEC champion including 1986-87-88 in the 50 freestyle
5. Ashley Culpepper 28 (2)
2000 National and SEC Diver of the Year, NCAA 3-meter champ
Boxing, men’s gymnastics and wrestling are three sports in which LSU no longer participates, though the Tigers enjoyed success in each.
For instance, LSU’s boxing team won the 1949 NCAA national championship. It was LSU’s second national title in school history coming after the Tigers’ 1933 men’s track and field team captured the national championship.
LSU’s men’s gymnastics teams finished national runners-up for the NCAA championship in 1975 and 1976.
The LSU wrestling team won five SEC titles.
The winner of the best defunct sports athlete is. . .
Ron Galimore 45 (4 first place vote)
Ron Galimore was a trailblazing pioneer as one of the first African American gymnasts in the history of the sport. At LSU before he transferred to Iowa State, he won the NCAA national championship in the floor exercise in 1977 scoring 18.810 and in the vault in 1978 scoring 19.300.
Galimore, the son of legendary Florida A&M football running back Willie Galimore, said he transferred from LSU to Iowa State because “there were too many distractions in Louisiana.”
Before choosing to concentrate on gymnastics, Galimore ran track and played both basketball and football. He got his first gymnastics lesson in September 1969 and became a member of the Tallahassee (Fla.) Tumbling Tots.
In 1980, he became the first African American gymnast to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team. But the U.S. boycotted the Moscow Games responding to the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan.
2. (Tie) Kevin Jackson 42 (3)
Three-time All-American wrestler (1983-84-85) who transferred when LSU dropped the program
2. (Tie) Tad Thrash 42 (3)
Two-time NCAA boxing champion (1949-50) who never lost a collegiate bout
4. Bobby Freeman 32 (2)
Only college boxer to win three straight Sugar Bowl championship titles
5. George Atiyeh 27 (2)
LSU football defensive tackle was 1978 SEC Wrestler of the Year