LSU’s Tristan Vessel Invitational honors swimmer’s legacy killed in fiery crash

BATON ROUGE — The 3rd annual Tristan Vessel Invitational was held over the weekend at the LSU Natatorium. The university named the event in honor of Tristan Vessel, a talented competitive swimmer and aspiring Olympian. This year, the event hosted 503 swimmers. Jacob Pishko finished strong with a 2024 USA Olympic Trial qualifying time in Men’s 200m butterfly.

Tristan’s Mother, Jennifer Del Murray, created the Tristan Vessel Memorial Fund to support and encourage competitive swimmers in the local community. Tristan’s tragic passing in a car accident in April 2022, while on his way to LSU for training, left a profound impact on his family and the swimming community.

Vessel passed away just 35 days before his Zachary High School graduation.

“It was one of those days where it rained on and off. It happened on I-110 right at the North 22nd Street curve. He lost control of the car and the car hit the guardrail. The car flipped over and caught fire,” she said. “It was very, very difficult to conceptualize as he was so close to getting finished in high school. He had been admitted to UT Austin and everything was coming together.”

The Tristan Vessel Memorial Fund aims to honor Tristan’s legacy by providing financial assistance, resources, and opportunities to promising young swimmers who share Tristan’s passion and dedication to the sport. 

Del Murrary tells UWK that her son wanted to shine a light on competitive swimming to younger kids who maybe don’t realize the sport is an option for them. 

“We thought we would provide help to people who are interested in it, but maybe haven’t had exposure to it. We provide some help to children who may need seven or eight private lessons to get themselves ready to start.” Del Murray said.

The Tristan Vessel Memorial Fund has already made a significant impact on the local swimming community. This year the foundation has given away $850 in academic scholarships and $850 in athletic scholarships at Zachary High School. It has also provided more than $800 for swim lessons for children in the BR area. #teamtristan

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