SULPHUR — The long-running “Wide World of Sports” show on ABC used film clips to illustrate “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat” storylines. It could have been that kind of day for the Episcopal swim teams.
Instead, the Knights followed the thrill of victory with another kind of win that sends chills down your spine at the Allstate Sugar Bowl/Louisiana High School Athletic Association state swim meet.
Episcopal swept the Division IV team titles Thursday at the SPAR Aquatic Center.
“I knew it was possible,” Episcopal coach Stephen Anderson said. “Coming in, we knew we had a chance.
“It’s like a lot of championships in that you have to have a little luck along the way. Some things happened that helped us out. But my boys and girls swam absolutely out of their minds. They earned it.”
The notion that the Knights would win another girls title was no surprise. With double-winner Chanler Turnley helping lead the way, Episcopal won its third straight girls state title with 390 points, finishing well ahead of Newman at 294 and Ascension Episcopal at 218.
Watching Episcopal win the boys title was the first shocker of the day. The Knights finished with 231.5 points to place ahead of BR rival The Dunham School at 224 and defending champion Newman at 214.5.
The second surprise came a few hours later when Lusher Charter won the Division III boys title, preventing an anticipated title sweep by E.D. White Catholic. Lutcher was third in the boys competition and Parkview Baptist placed fourth in the girls to lead the local Division III contingent. The four-day meet continues Friday with prelims for Divisions I-II.
“The effort of our boys was just lights out,” Anderson said. “We have no year-rounders (year-round swimmers). I’m sure there were people who didn’t think it was possible. It’s the first time we’ve won like this with the boys and girls.
“We had the kind of efforts you don’t expect. Lots of personal bests, including a senior girl who split best times on back-to-back days coming off the flu. You don’t expect things like that.”
Dunham claimed its second runner-up finish in three years, moving into the No. 2 spot Episcopal held in 2013.
“Two years ago we had four boys,” Dunham co-coach Sam Burmeister said. “Today we had nine, and they were phenomenal.”
Both BR boys teams benefitted from a costly miscue by Newman in Wednesday’s preliminary heats. The Greenies had the top entry mark in the 200 freestyle relay but were disqualified because a swimmer not listed among the assigned alternates competed.
Had Newman won that relay, it would have been a different outcome. But there was much more to what the local contingent did than the team totals.
Four BR swimmers were Division IV double winners, led by Dunham’s Olivia Huffman, who was voted Outstanding Girls Swimmer. Huffman won the 50-yard freestyle with a personal-best time of 24.33 seconds and won the 100 backstroke in 59.82.
“The 50 free was definitely a best time, and 100 back was right on my best time, so I was really excited,” Huffman said. “I was really shocked about (winning the award).”
Newman’s Jared Williams was the Outstanding Boys Swimmer in Division IV for the second straight year. Williams also was a double winner who broke his own record in the 100 butterfly with a time of 49.79 seconds.
Williams and Division III Outstanding Girls Swimmer Erin Trahan of Notre Dame swam the only All-America consideration times in the 100 butterfly.
Trahan set Division III and composite records with her 100 butterfly time of 55.28 seconds. She also set a division mark while winning the 50 freestyle in 23.70 seconds. E.D. White’s Jay Danos, who also won the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly, was the Outstanding Boys Swimmer in Division III.
Turnley led the Episcopal girls by winning the 200 individual medley in 2:14.20 and the 100 freestyle in 53.75.
Kirkland Mawae, a recent Wingate signee, helped lead the Dunham boys squad with wins in the 200 IM in 1:56.88 and the 100 backstroke in 52.96.
Christian Life Academy’s Anna Morris closed out her high school career by winning the 100 butterfly in 1:03.13 and the 100 breaststroke in 1:10.11.
Middle schoolers Jolee Liles of Parkview and Johannah Cangelosi of University High were Division III double winners. Liles won the 200 IM in 2:10.31 and the 500 freestyle in 5:15.02. Cangelosi won the 200 freestyle in 2:00.16 and the 100 backstroke in 1:01.86.
“There are a lot of good young swimmers in Baton Rouge,” said U-High coach Jason Lewis, who is set to retire from coaching after the meet. “The future is bright.”