When it comes to the Capital City Swim League, some things are givens. That doesn’t eliminate the chance for multiple changes.
It starts with traditional power Catholic High opting to swim in just one regular-season meet. Episcopal’s move back up to Division III after sweeping the Division IV state titles in 2014 also is notable.
Baton Rouge area teams began their series of regular-season CCSL meets at the Crawfish Aquatics pool last weekend. After taking a week off, meets will resume Sept. 26 with a high-powered afternoon meet that includes traditional powers, Catholic and St. Joseph’s Academy.
“We decided to do some things to give everyone on our team more of a chance to compete in different events,” Catholic coach Doug Logsdon said. “The league is great, but you’re limited in the number of entries you can have in certain events.
“We’re doing more intrasquad meets at our home pool, Kenilworth. We had the first one last weekend, along with St. Joseph’s, and I was real pleased with how we swam and supported each other.”
Catholic High has won the last 25 boys titles at the CCSL championships, along with two straight Division I state titles. St. Joseph’s has a string of 15 consecutive CCSL girls titles and four straight Division I state titles.
The teams also have the reigning CCSL MVPs. Catholic senior Colin Bone was unbeaten as an individual at the LHSAA Division I state meet and is the state’s top boys swimmer. SJA senior Clayton Black set a Division I record in the 200-yard freestyle a year ago and is part of a talented 14-member senior class for the Redstickers.
“We graduated some outstanding swimmers who also were great leaders,” SJA coach Rebecca Barber said. “This (senior) group had big shoes to fill, but I have no doubt that they will do. Practice so far has been awesome.
“This is my seventh year to coach, and I’d say this is the best we’ve done in the early season. I can sense their determination and work ethic. Our goal is what it always is, which is to field the best team we can for the city and state meets.”
The Redstickers are opting to compete in three CCSL regular-season meets including the one next weekend. Catholic and SJA will team up to host Alabama power McGill-Toolen for a two-day meet Oct. 23-24.
Other top names for the Bears and Redstickers the familiar. Amy Miller and Claire Charpentier are other top seniors for SJA. Catholic’s list of top competitors includes juniors Nick Romero, Carter Richard, Braden Nyboer and Lance Michael Rodriguez.
The list of top names isn’t limited to those two teams. Episcopal coach Stephen Anderson noted some shifts in the skill levels of other teams. The Knights (girls) and Lutcher (boys) each scored 471 points to win their first CCSL meets last weekend.
Episcopal’s Chanler Turnley and Lutcher’s Luke Zeringue were among the impressive double winners.
“I think overall talent level is better than we’ve seen in the last couple of years,” Anderson said. “We got to see Baton Rouge High last week, and they appear to stronger than they’ve been in a couple of years. Dutchtown also looks to be stronger.
“Division III is so strong. We’ll get all the competition we want from the Division III teams in our league like Parkview and University High. The thing about Division III is this … we’ll swim where ever the LHSAA tells us to go. We spent two years in Division III and then went to Division IV for two years, and now we’re back.”
While the Knights went up to Division III, St. Michael the Archangel moves down from Division II to Division III. Two coaching changes also impact Division III. Courtney Roedel, who also coaches at Crawfish Aquatics, takes over at U-High. Former CCSL MVP John Michael Moore is the new coach at his alma mater, Parkview Baptist.