Teams out to defend titles at state swimming meet

If you like defending champions and stories about the teams trying to unseat them, then the first two days of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s Swimming Championships might be just the event you’re looking for.

The four-day meet begins Wednesday with preliminary races for teams in Division III and Division IV at the SPAR Aquatic Center in Sulphur. Events begin at 10 a.m. for Division IV and 4 p.m. for Division III. Finals in both divisions are Thursday at 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Newman-New Orleans swept the Division IV titles and Houma’s Vandebilt Catholic won the boys and girls titles in Division III.

Episcopal in Division III and The Dunham School in Division IV are schools looking to make their mark. The Episcopal girls, a runner-up a year ago, have designs on a title, and the school’s boys also look to move up in the standings. Dunham, also a girls second-place finisher, looks to move closer to Newman.

“I’m waiting to see the final psyche sheet, but an unofficial one I’ve seen we’re scored to win it,” Rayner said of the Episcopal girls. “Last year the boys finished seventh, and our goal is to be in the top three. I think it’s possible.

“The girls and boys have put in a lot of work and performed well. We had a great meet at the City Meet and want to build on that. And I think we have some swimmers who aren’t seeded as high, who will surprise people.”

Traditional powers, LaPlace’s St. Charles Catholic and Houma’s Vandebilt Catholic, are among the other teams to watch in the boys and girls teams race. Thibodaux’s E.D. White Catholic is another boys team to watch, Rayner said.

Newman again has the quality and numbers to be overpowering in Division IV. Dunham coach Rebekah Myers likes her team’s possibilities.

“I’ve seen the psyche sheet, and I’m excited about it,” Myers said. “Our girls have a chance to do well again. It looks like Olivia Huffman and Olivia Bradley can score very well for us. And we have some others who will be in there. We only have five boys, and it looks like they can do well, too.”

Newman’s Patrick Riess has the top entry mark in the 100 backstroke and 100 freestyle. The Greenies’ Harry Browne has the top entry marks in the 200 and 500 freestyle. Angele Cherbonnier (first 50 freestyle, 100 breaststroke) helps lead the Newman girls. Newman is seeded first all three relays for boys and girls.

Dunham is led by Huffman (second in 50 freestyle, 100 backstroke) and Olivia Bradley, who is seeded third in two events. East Iberville’s Claudia Apsey (200 freestyle, 100 butterfly) and Christian Life’s Anna Morris (100 breaststroke) are other notable Baton Rouge girls. Kirkland Mawae leads the Dunham boys.

The list of Baton Rouge boys competitors to watch includes Parkview Baptist’s John Miller, who has top entry marks in the 200 and 500 freestyles and Episcopal’s Patrick Stone (100 freestyle, 100 backstroke). Vandebilt’s Elie McRae (100 breast, 100 butterfly) also has two top entry marks. Zack Butler (100 breaststroke) is another key competitor for the Episcopal boys.

Parkview’s Danielle Miles (200, 500 freestyles) is a Division III girl with two top entry marks. University’s Emily Rush is seeded first in the 100 backstroke and second in the 100 freestyle.

Anna Singletary is seeded first in the 100 freestyle and second in the 50 freestyle for Episcopal. Cameron Barney is another key competitor for EHS.