Swim teams from across Louisiana will try to unseat defending champion Crawfish Aquatics when the Louisiana Long Course State Championships take place Thursday through Sunday at UNO.
Hundreds of swimmers will compete in age group competition in 132 events.
Crawfish ran away from the pack last year, winning both the boys and girls divisions by amassing 5,646.5 points. Tiger Aquatics was second with 3,788 points.
Crawfish plans to bring around 125 swimmers to the meet, including members of their club in Baton Rouge and satellite clubs in Lafayette, Thibodaux and Houma.
“We may not have the numbers to compete with (Crawfish),” Tiger Aquatics coach Jeannine Malbrough said, “so our approach is, ‘it’s all about getting your hand on the wall.’”
TAQ will have some 75 swimmers entered.
Some new names appear along with defending champs on the psych sheets for this year’s meet.
Colin Bone, a 10-event winner (including relays) from 2013, will be swimming a lighter schedule this year, as will last year’s top girls swimmer, Caroline Beene (seven firsts). Bone and Beene are training for the Speedo Junior National Meet in Irvine, Cal., that begins July 30.
“They’ll swim in those events and relays where they can most help their team,” said Shelly Ripple Johnston, CEO of Crawfish Aquatics. “Then they’ll turn their attention to the nationals.”
Leading returnees for the Crawfish girls include Jolee Liles in the 13-14 division. She had seven individual wins and swam on two winning relays last year in the 11-12 age group. Liles comes into the meet with top times in the 200 and 400 meter individual medleys, the 200 backstroke, the 800 freestyle, and the 100 butterfly.
Other top age-group swimmers for Crawfish include Annalane Lee (13-14), Rylee Moore (12-and- under), Ashlyn Hunt (15-16), and Mary Grace Biting and Emma Mire (10-and-under).
Hunt was also a seven-event winner in 2013 and has the top time in four events.
“(Rylee) and (Ashlyn) are outstanding leaders in their age groups,” Ripple said. “The best thing is that they’re great team players and great kids.”
In addition to Bone, the defending boys champions will be depending on good performances by Michael Padial, Silas Prejean, Gage Alleman, Mason Hutchinson and John Miller.
Tiger Aquatics will be counting on its girls contingent to score points in bunches. The combination of Kara Kopsco, Sophie Weber, Caley Olquist, Megan Cox, Stacey Stanfield, Katelyn Rodriguez and Jessica James come in with the top four times in the 200 freestyle and the top three in the 200 individual medley.
All of the group except Rodriguez are members of the LSU women’s swimming and diving team.
TAQ girls also have the top two times in the 800 freestyle relay and the top time in the 400m freestyle relay.
Other leaders for TAQ girls are Joy Jason (19), Clayton Black (16) and Bethany Seagraves (15).
Lance Rodriguez of Tiger Aquatics captured five freestyle events last year, four individual and one relay, as a 14-year-old and moves up to the 15-16 age group this year where he has the top time in the 800 and 200 freestyle.
“Lance has been really strong for us in the distances, along with Braden Nyboer and Jonathan McKeough, who’s ranked No. 1 in the 100 backstroke.”
Other leaders for the Tiger boys are Daniel Woodruff, Logan Rysemus, Braydon Bergeron and Eliot Dewlen.
Prelims begin at 8:30 a.m. each day with finals set for 5 p.m.