Crawfish swims to top spot; Tiger Aquatics second

Call it the other Louisiana two-step. Instead of dancing, Crawfish Aquatics and Tiger Aquatics Club swam their way to the top once again.

Crawfish won the team title, and TAQ placed second at the Louisiana Long Course State Swimming Championships completed Sunday night at UNO’s Kiefer Lakefront Arena.

“I think we were consistent each day and swam really good at night,” Crawfish coach Billy Newport said. “And it was from top to bottom. It’s a team thing, and I thought we swam well as a team from the 10-and-unders on up. I liked the whole package.”

It was the 10th straight long course title for Crawfish and 17th Louisiana state title overall. The BR team swept the long course and short course titles in 2014. Crawfish and TAQ also swept the top spots at the long course meet in 2013.

Crawfish finished with 6,278 points. TAQ powered its way to a second-place finish with a strong Sunday performance and tallied 3,183½ points. Nu Wave Swim Club (2,733), Francos Fins (1,8531/2), and Crescent City Swim Club (1,788) completed the top five.

“We came into this meet second-guessing ourselves on our training because we’ve been at the YMCA while they’ve been working on the (LSU) Natatorium,” TAQ coach Jeannine Malbrough said. “We’ve also made it a point to work as a family this summer and not let any excuses or distractions get in the way.

“I think we did that. I’m very pleased. We had some great results. I think our kids are on the right track to succeed.”

It was appropriate for the top teams to share two individual honors. Kara Kopcso of TAQ was voted the Outstanding Female Swimmer. An LSU swimmer and a former Franco’s Fins competitor, Kopcso won the open 100 butterfly in 1 minute, 1.31 seconds Sunday night.

Crawfish’s Silas Dejean garnered Outstanding Male Swimmer honors. He is scheduled to swim for LSU. Dejean set a state record in the boys open 100 breaststroke of 1:03.4 in the Sunday morning prelims, which also was a junior national qualifying time. Dejean won the final in 1:03.83 Sunday night.

Crawfish’s John Miller opened the evening by winning the 800-meter freestyle in 8:36.16 and later finished fourth in the 200 freestyle.

“I didn’t get the times I wanted, but I was glad to get those points to help my team win,” Miller, a Cincinnati signee, said. “I’ve been a part of this team for so long. I’m going to miss it, but it was definitely a great way to finish.”

TAQ’s Clayton Black won the 15-16 200 freestyle in 2:09.06 en route to claiming high-point honors her age group. Black was one of four TAQ swimmers who won 200 freestyle raced during the final session. Lance Michael Rodriguez (15-16 boys), Elliott Dewlen (open boys) and Megan Cox (open girls) were the other TAQ 200 winners.

“I’m pleased with how we swam and how the team swam,” Black said. “Some of us swam last week at sectionals and we were determined to go faster this week and we did.”

Other high-point winners included Crawfish’s Jolee Liles (13-14 girls), Caley Ogust of TAQ (open girls), Jackson Boersma of Ruston’s Bulldog Aquatics (13-14 boys), City of Shreveport’s Kaden Amidon (15-16 boys) and Crawfish’s Mason Hutchinson (open boys).

Crawfish’s Liles was among the 100 butterfly winners, taking first place in 1:07.71, while Jeanne Frederic won the 15-16 100 butterfly in 1:05.77.

The meet closed with a series of 100 breaststroke races. Dejean provided the highlight, but TAQ’s Joy Jason (open girls), Crawfish’s Amy Miller (15-16 girls) and Crawfish’s Jacob Bares (15-16 boys) also closed out the four-day meet with wins.

TAQ’s Daniel Woodruff and Hannah Huenefeld of Bulldog were the 11-12 high-point winners. Crescent City’s Emily Schexnayder and Crawfish’s Jacques Rathle were the 10-and-under winners.

“It went smoothly and the meet was really fast,” Meet Director Colleen Barczyk of City of Lafayette Swim Team said. “There were some great swims every day.”

City of Lafayette’s Jillian Barczyk took first place in the 13-14 200-meter freestyle in 2:16.46.