SULPHUR - It came down to the final few races but Catholic High and St. Joseph’s Academy held on to give Baton Rouge a state title sweep in Division I-Class 5A at the LHSAA Swimming Championships on Saturday at the SPAR Aquatic Center.
Catholic edged 36-time and four-time defending champ Jesuit 344.5 to 323 for the boys title. Fontainebleau was third.
St. Joseph’s won the girls title in one of the closest races chases ever. SJA led three-time defending champion Northshore 320 to 319.5 heading into the final event.
By finishing second in the 400 freestyle relay three seconds ahead of Northshore, St. Joseph’s claimed the title with 354 points. Northshore had (351). Mandeville took third.
There also was a Baton Rouge runner-up in the Division III-Class 3A competition held in the morning. Episcopal scored 227 points and was the girls runner-up.
Houma’s Vandebilt Catholic scored 277 points in the girls division and 327 in the boys division to claim the titles.
“I thought that we were real nervous to start off the meet,” Catholic coach Doug Logsdon said. “The 200 (yard) medley relay calmed us down a little bit. We lost a few points in the middle, but I thought from the 500 on we were great.
“The guys did a great job supporting one another. It was a total team effort.”
It was Catholic’s first swimming title since 2005. St. Joseph’s won its first Division I girls title since 2005.
Grant Grenfell and Colin Finnegan led the Bears. Grenfell posted an All-American qualifying time to win the 100-yard backstroke (58.44 seconds) and consideration for All-American in the 100-yard butterfly, where he tied Archbishop Rummel’s Eric Klein for first at 49.95.
Finnegan’s won the 100-yard breaststroke in 58.44 and was second in the 200 individual medley.
There were four records, one All-American qualifying time and 13 consideration All-American times in Division I.
Cameron Balkom won the 100 breaststroke with a CAA time of 1:05.12 for St. Joseph’s only win at the meet.
Dutchtown’s Alyssa Dilldine was double winner, taking first in the 200 (1:54.29) and 500 (5:03.93) freestyles.
Rivals Clay Furr of University High and John Miller of Parkview Baptist combined for three Division III records during the morning session.
Furr set records in the 200 freestyle (1:45.53) and the 100 butterfly (51.19). The previous butterfly record had stood since 1994.
“I am proud of the way I swam,” Furr said. “I had a very good middle 100 in the 200 and that is what I have been taught.”
Miller, who finished second in the 200, got his chance for his own record in the 500-yard freestyle. He won in 4:48.45. PBS’ Chase Comardelle was third in the 200 freestyle, completing a local sweep.
Episcopal was second in the Division III girls competition, while University finished fourth. Lutcher placed fourth and Parkview Baptist was fifth in the boys competition.
“We knew coming in that they were a strong team,” said Alex Rayner, co-head coach of Episcopal with Stephen Anderson. “We couldn’t be more proud of our girls. They all stepped up and everyone gave their best effort.”
The team of Cameron Barney, Bailey Stevens, Chanler Turnley and Anna Singletary won the 200 freestyle relay for Episcopal with a time of 1:47.47.
University’s Caroline Forbes was also a double winner. She just missed setting a new division record in the 50 freestyle, winning in 24.85. Forbes won the 100 freestyle in 54.10. Forbes swam a leg in the winning 400 freestyle relay along with Emily Rush, who won the 100 backstroke in 1:01.27.
Other local Division I girls competitors to post top three finishes included SJA’s Katelyn Rodriguez (second, 200 freestyle), SJA’s MK Miller (second, 200 IM) and East Ascension’s Hannah Core (third in 50 and 100 freestyles).
Catholic’s Brady Grenfell (third, 200 freestyle) and Casey Panepinto (third, 500 freestyle) had top three boys finishes in Division I.
Parkview Baptist’s Danielle Miles (second, 200 freestyle; third, 500 freestyle) and Kristen Salles (second, 100 butterfly; third, 100 backstroke) had two top three finishes in the Division III girls competition.
Episcopal’s Cameron Barney (third, 200 freestyle) and two Lutcher competitors, Kristen Roussel (third, 50 freestyle) and Kassidy Zeringue (third, 100 freestyle) also had top three finishes.
Lutcher’s Mark Pousson (second, 50 freestyle; third 100 freestyle) also had multiple top three finishes. Other top finishers were Episcopal’s Patrick Stone (second, 100 freestyle) and Zack Butler (third, 100 breaststroke).