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Lily Hughes, a senior at Scotch Plains Fanwood High School in Scotch Plains, New Jersey, has committed to join the LSU Tigers next fall. Hughes is primarily a backstroker who does her club swimming with Greater Monmouth YMCA.
Hughes had a breakout meet at the NJ YMCA Swimming Festival in April, posting huge drops in both the 100 and 200 back. She led off GMNY’s winning 400 Medley Relay in 54.86, an almost full two second drop from her prior best of 56.77. Her 200 back was even more impressive, dropping over five seconds to touch second in 1:59.27. The YMCA swimming festival served as an unofficial YMCA national championship, after the original meet was cancelled. YMCA programs from around the country instead competed against local YMCA teams and then compiled the results virtually.
Hughes’ best SCY times include:
50 back: 25.78
100 back: 54.86
200 back: 1:59.27
100 fly: 58.69
With a little more improvement, Hughes projects to have an immediate impact for new Tiger head coach Rick Bishop. At the 2021 SEC Championships, it took 54.14 to qualify for the C final in the 100 back and 1:57.28 to qualify for the C final in the 200 back. Hughes is also close to making an impact on LSU’s medley relays, as their 400 medley leadoff was 54.42 last season as SEC’s
Backstroke was a weak spot last year for LSU as the Tigers had only one scorer between the 100 and 200 back at SEC’s. LSU’s backstroke situation has become even more dire this fall as their lone SEC backstroke scorer, NCAA qualifier Summer Stanfield, recently entered the NCAA transfer portal after former Associate Head Coach Steve Mellor abruptly resigned.
Hughes will join Lily Jones and Payton Woodring, who are also both backstrokers, in LSU’s class of 2026 as the first-year head coach Bishop looks to rebuild the Tiger women’s program that finished 10th out of 12 teams at last year’s SEC’s. Jones boasts lifetime bests of 56.55 and 2:01.83 in the 100 and 200 back, while Woodring is more 200-focused, as she brings best times of 56.77 in the 100 back and a 1:59.01 in the 200 back.
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