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Lauren Bernardo, a backstroke and IM specialist, has given her verbal commitment to Louisiana State University (LSU) for the fall of 2024.
“I am extremely excited to announce my verbal commitment to continue my athletic and academic careers at Louisiana State University. I would like to thank my family and friends for their unwavering support, and all of my coaches throughout my swim career for believing in me and helping me to achieve swimming D1 a reality! GEAUX, TIGERS ”
Bernardo trains with SwimMAC Carolina and will be moving southwest to join the Tigers. She is a current senior at Charlotte Catholic High School where she became the 2022 Southwestern 4A Conference Champion in the 100 back (59.39) and she placed 6th in the 100 fly (1:02.44). Just one week later, in early February, she dropped a 56.95 100 back at the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) 4A Western Regionals to place 6th. Bernardo’s momentum carried over into the summer long course season when she competed at the Summer Junior National Championships in Irvine, California. There, she placed highest in the 200-meter backstroke (53rd) with a time of 2:19.70.
Top SCY times:
100 back – 56.06
200 back – 1:59.86
100 fly – 57.43
200 IM – 2:02.64
400 IM – 4:27.02
December was an eventful month for 17-year-old Bernardo. At the 2022 Winter Junior Championships in Greensboro, she blasted lifetime best times in the 200 IM (2:02.64) to place 34th and in the 400 IM (4:27.02) to place 53rd. She dropped a total of 4.5 seconds in the 200 IM last year and ten seconds in the 400 IM, solidifying medley races as part of her repertoire of strong events.
Bernardo’s lifetime best times would have made her LSU’s top finisher in the 100 back in 37th place and second-fastest finisher in the 200 back at the 2022 Southeastern Conference (SEC) Championships in 33rd place. Junior Sarah Thompson currently leads the Tigers’ backstroke group. She placed 38th in the 100 back and 31st in the 200 back at last season’s championship meet and will likely be a strong training partner for Bernardo as the team edges closer to qualifying for SEC Championship backstroke finals.
Bernardo will also be a strong addition to the 400 IM group. Her best time would have placed 37th at the 2022 SEC Championships and the Tigers’ highest-placing finisher in this event was Jolee Liles, a senior, in the ‘C’ final (4:14.02).
Louisiana State women are coming off an 8th-place finish at the 2022 SEC Conference Championships under head coach Rick Bishop. They jumped up two places from their 2021 finish. Bernardo is the Tigers’ first verbal commitment for the women’s class of 2024 so far.
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