The idea of “home-field” or “home-court” advantages are concepts most sports fans understand.
What about a “home-pool advantage?”
Defending champion Crawfish Aquatics and host Tiger Aquatics are determined to prove that’s a big deal too when the Louisiana Long Course State Swim meet that begins Thursday at the LSU Natatorium.
“It’s nice to be close to home,” Crawfish Aquatics coach Jayme Cramer said. “It’s much more conducive to swimming fast when you’re able to sleep in your own bed. For those swimmers who do have to travel, they’ll be close. It’s exciting to be able to race together as one large team.”
Preliminary races begin at 8:30 a.m. for swimmers ages 13 and over. The session for 12-and-under competitors begins at noon. Finals for 13 and over swimmers are set for 5 p.m. The four-day event runs through Sunday.
“Last year, we were second in this meet, and we didn’t finish as high at short course,” Tiger Aquatics coach Jeannine Malbrough said. “To get up to that level again is one of our goals. We’ve got a larger group of swimmers, including some LSU swimmers, and that should help us.
“We’ve really some seen some growth and improvement. Last week, we went to the sectional meet and swam fast. Hopefully we can swim just as fast or faster.”
The two Baton Rouge teams have a combined total of nearly 250 entrants.
Crawfish Aquatics, winner of 18 state short course/long course titles over the past 10 years, has approximately 160 entrants from its sites in Baton Rouge, Thibodaux and Lafayette. It also has some college swimmers set to compete.
Tiger Aquatics has approximately 90 entrants.
Cramer stresses the fact that the weekend meet is likely the last for seniors Matt Arnold, Caroline Beene, Connor Futch and Jaspreet Ahluwalia.
Other top swimmers for Crawfish in its 13-and-over age groups include Colin Bone, Amy Miller, Jolee Liles, Chanler Turnley, Olivia Huffman and Michael Padial. Catholic High’s Bone has been voted the top boys swimmer in Capital City Swim League for three seasons.
Tiger Aquatics’ Clayton Black of St. Joseph’s Academy was the CCSL’s top girls performer last fall. Other top TAQ 13-and-over competitors to note include Lance Michael Rodriguez, Braden Nyboer, Mason Nyboer and Johannah Cangelosi.
Cramer has reminded his swimmers the LSU Natatorium is Tiger Aquatics’ home pool. He cited the first night of the Pan American Games in Toronto as an example.
“After the first night of competition, Canada really stepped up in their home pool,” Cramer explained. “They really dominated.
“We told our team we’re going into LSU’s pool, and we’ve got to swim fast. You can’t assume success will happen. You’ve got to perform and go through all the proper steps to get there.”