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LGBT College Sports Roundup: Out gay swimmer helps team finish second at NCAAs

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Austin Olivares helped his Linwood Univ. swim team capture an NCAA runner-up. Taylor Emery earns spot on AAC all-frosh team.

Austin Olivares helped the Lindenwood Univ. swim team to a national runner-up at the NCAA Championships.
Austin Olivares helped the Lindenwood Univ. swim team to a national runner-up at the NCAA Championships.
Austin Olivares

INDIANAPOLIS --€” Thursday night before Austin Olivares was scheduled to swim in his first national championships that next morning, he tried on the black and gold swimsuit the team bought specifically for the national meet, but it was too big.

Luckily, he still had another suit in his bag.

When the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Olivares walked out to compete Friday morning at the NCAA Division II Swimming and Diving National Championships, he was the only Lindenwood University athlete not wearing a black and gold suit. His was bright pink.

"My teammates, they laughed and gave me some crap, ‘Oh Austin, you just had to wear the pink suit,'" Olivares said. "I was just more worried about my performance. I would swim naked if it meant swimming faster than swimming in a suit."

Olivares, who came out publicly as gay in 2014, swam the first leg of Lindenwood's 800-yard freestyle relay. He swam a personal record of 1 minute, 38.65 seconds on his split. The relay finished 10th with a time of 6:35.41, about three seconds better than 11th place and less than a second from seventh place.

Joining Olivares on the relay were Felix Eigel, Cristian Vasquez, and Gustavo Silva Santa.

By finishing 10th, the relay earned honorable mention All-America honors, and that performance helped Lindenwood capture second place as a team. Queens North Carolina won the men's team title with 449 points, and Lindenwood scored 382.5. It's the program's best finish at Division II nationals.

"I'm on cloud nine," Olivares said. "Last year, getting a medal at conference was a big deal. Now, I'm holding a trophy at nationals. ... It feels so good."

Olivares, a junior, competed at Florida Atlantic in Division I his first two years. During the summer, he transferred to Lindenwood, which is located in suburban St. Louis.

He became a team leader this year, and he's the person that starts the team cheer before each meet, which caused him to be hoarse by the end of the four-day national meet.

"I clicked so well and so quickly with everyone on this team, way faster than probably anywhere I've ever been in my life," Olivares said. "I couldn't be happier here. I do believe that with this program and this team that they can help me get to that next level that I want to get to."

Olivares was the only publicly out gay athlete competing at the NCAA Division II Swimming and Diving Championships last week. It gave him pride that he ended up wearing a bright pink suit, even if it was unintentional.

"I want to show people that sexual orientation has nothing to do with performance,€” like skin color or religious belief," Olivares said. "All of that doesn't matter when you're jumping in a pool. To the people who think it does matter, I think it makes a positive statement to see an openly gay athlete competing at the highest level in college."

Names in bold are people that have announced publicly they identify as LGBT.

Division I

Taylor Emery (freshman, Tulane women's basketball) earned a spot on the American Athletic Conference All-Freshman Team, which was announced March 3. She came off the bench in all 32 games this year, averaging 6.2 points and 3.4 rebounds per game. "She has played an important role in big games for us this season," Tulane coach Lisa Stockton said in a press release. Emery had four points and seven rebounds in Tulane's 70-64 AAC tournament quarterfinal win over Memphis, but UConn held Emery scoreless in 15 minutes and won 82-35 during their AAC semifinal March 6.

Fred Hartville (senior, Illinois men's gymnastics) helped the Illini win their two meets the last two weeks. At Air Force on March 5, he scored 14.000 on floor and 14.100 on vault. Saturday against Michigan, he took fourth on vault with a 14.900 score.

Alex Obendorf (sophomore, West Virginia men's diving) wrapped up his season by competing at the NCAA Zone A Meet in Annapolis, Maryland, on March 7-9. His best finish came on 1-meter springboard, where he finished 10th with a score of 595.30. He also finished 16th on platform and 20th on 3-meter springboard. "I think I dove better than last year," Obendorf said. "This year in general, a lot of my diving has improved. I feel like I'm more focused and I know how to control my nerves and stuff, so it's a lot easier to relax."

Jazmine Sosa (senior, UCLA softball) made her season debut March 5 against Charleston Southern, splitting time as the designated player and catcher. She hit 1-for-3 that game, which UCLA won 9-0. Sosa's started three games for the Bruins (17-8), whose assistant coach is Kirk Walker.

Tanner Wilfong (junior, Miami men's diving) earned his first NCAA Championships berth by finishing second in the platform competition at the Zone B Meet, the opening round of the NCAA postseason for divers. He scored 778.65 points on his 12 dives at Georgia Tech on March 9. Florida State's Dylan Grisell won with 789.85. Wilfong will be back at Georgia Tech for the NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships, which take place March 23-26.

Jenny Allard (head coach, Harvard softball) guided her team to a 7-5 start to the year, including wins in four of their last five games.

Galen Dodd (assistant coach, Southern California men's volleyball) saw the Trojans (4-14 overall) split a home-and-home series with No. 15-ranked California-Baptist on March 3 and 5.

Patrick Jeffrey (diving coach, Stanford men's and women's diving) helped four men's divers and three women's divers qualify for the NCAA Championships at the Zone E Meet held at Northern Arizona on March 7-9. "We definitely have strength in numbers, and we are probably the best-represented diving group in the country," Jeffrey said in a press release.

Randy Lane (assistant coach, UCLA women's gymnastics) went through a tough stretch with his team, which entered the past two weeks ranked No. 7. The Bruins lost to Georgia, Stanford and Oklahoma since the start of March.

Simon Thibodeau (head coach, California-Santa Barbara women's tennis) guided his team to a 4-0 win over Portland on March 10. The Gauchos are 6-5 this season.

Division II

Alanna Carvalho (sophomore, Erskine women's lacrosse) scored one goal on four shots in her team's 16-3 loss to North Greenville on March 4. She contributed two goals and one assist when Erskine (0-5) lost to Pfeiffer 15-5 on March 11.

LeQuan Chapman (senior, Shippensburg men's track and field) finished 10th in triple jump (48 feet, 7 1/2 inches) and 16th in long jump (22-9 3/4) at the NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships on Friday and Saturday in Pittsburg, Kansas. His performance Saturday in triple jump earns him Second Team All-America honors from the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. This was the final meet of Chapman's career.

Division III

Ryan Beene (junior, Texas Lutheran men's tennis) playing at No. 1 singles didn't go well for Beene, losing both singles matches recently to Rhodes College and East Texas Baptist University. His team also lost those matches 8-1 and 6-3, respectively.

Michael Drougas (sophomore, Oberlin men's tennis) lost his No. 1 singles match 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 but his team won 5-4 against John Carroll on Saturday. Drougas is 13-4 this season.

Mark Kroll (senior, Coe men's tennis) played doubles in two matches during his team's spring break trip to Florida. Kroll lost his matches to Clark University and Ohio Wesleyan, but his team won both those matches and went 6-1 during the trip.

Ben Larison (senior, Coe baseball) started four of the team's first eight games, two games at third base and two at designated hitter. He scored the game-winning run in a 5-4 win against Husson on March 7. He's hitting 4-for-12 with two runs and two RBIs, and Coe is 4-4.

Michael Martin (freshman, Wilson men's volleyball) played his best with two kills in a 3-0 loss to Hilbert on March 5. Martin is fourth on Wilson (0-14) with 13 kills this season.

Chandler Whitney (junior, Mitchell baseball) played in eight of his team's first nine games, and he's hitting 9-for-26 with a double, four RBIs, and four runs. He's started in left field in at least six games (a box score isn't available for one game). His best game came when he hit 3-for-5 with a double, a walk, and two runs to help Mitchell (8-1) beat MacMurray 13-12 in 10 inning on March 8.

T.J. Greggs (head coach, Agnes Scott women's tennis) lost 9-0 to Birmingham Southern on March 4 to move to 2-1 this season.

NAIA

Jack Strickland (junior, Friends track and field) injured his left foot during triple jump and still had a successful first outdoor meet of the year at the Southwestern Invitational on March 10. He took seventh in the 110-meter hurdles (15.51 seconds), eighth in triple jump (40-0 1/2), and 16th in the 400 hurdles (1:00.02).

Jesse Taylor (sophomore, Dakota Wesleyan men's basketball) saw his team earn an at-large berth to the NAIA national tournament. The Tigers upset Indiana Tech 93-89 in overtime Thursday during their opening game but lost 78-77 to York (Nebraska) in Friday's second round. Taylor did not play in either game. Dakota Wesleyan finished the year 23-11.

Nick Clark (head coach, Clarke men's volleyball) went through a 2-3 record the last two weeks with his team, but the Crusaders (17-7) won 3-0 on Saturday's Senior Day.

Lauren Lappin (assistant coach, Roosevelt softball) saw her team start the season 2-10 with wins over Waldorf College and Ohio Valley College.

Upcoming televised competitions involving LGBT college athletes and coaches that have announced their sexuality publicly. (All times are Eastern.)

Thursday, March 17

Derrick Gordon, Seton Hall men's basketball vs. Gonzaga; Denver, 9:57 p.m. (truTV)

Saturday, March 19

Seton Hall/Gonzaga winner vs. Utah/Fresno State winner; Denver, TBA

Fred Hartville, Illinois men's gymnastics vs. Oklahoma; Champaign, Ill., 2:30 p.m. (Big Ten Network)

Bree Horrocks, Purdue women's basketball vs. Oklahoma; Lexington, Ky., 1:30 p.m. (ESPN2)

Monday, March 21

Purdue/Oklahoma winner vs. Kentucky/UNC-Asheville winner, TBA

Erik Hall can be reached via email at hallerik7@gmail.com or on Twitter @HallErik or on Facebook. If you are an out LGBT athlete or coach and want your accomplishments recognized, email Erik.