Some things about the Capital City Swim League can be predictable.
Catholic High and St. Joseph’s Academy have combined to win 30 straight CCSL Championships.
As the teams prepare for a new season on Saturday with the 10-team CCSL meet set to begin at 8:45 a.m. at the Crawfish Aquatics, the talk is more about competition than championships.
“We did between 5,000 and 5,500 yards today at practice,” Catholic coach Doug Logsdon said. “We’ve got a group that includes 13 seniors, and because they’re so experienced, it gives us the opportunity to do a more than we would done at the start of other seasons.
“Being able to do this kind of work will hopefully put us in position to be where we want to be later in the year. I think the Baton Rouge swimming community continues to get better every year. The thing we have to do is take care of our own business.”
The Bears, who have a string of 20 straight CCSL boys titles, and St. Joseph’s, winner of the last 10 girls titles, are part of the season opener on Saturday.
“We’re excited about getting the chance to go out there and compete this week,” SJA coach Lyle Robelot said. “The girls have been working hard in practice and this meet is something they’re definitely looking forward to.
“Part of what you want to do is get in shape. But we’re also doing a lot of work on technique. That may not translate to fast times right away, but it should as the season goes on.
“The thing about a first meet is you get the chance to not only see where you stand, but you also get to see where the other teams are.”
The possibilities are intriguing for the CCSL, which sports just one returning state champion. University High won its fifth straight Division IV-Classes 2A and below state title last November.
But the Cubs, who have won seven titles in the last eight years, are among the CCSL teams with a new head coach.
Geannine Malbrough, previously the UHS assistant, begins her first season as head coach.
Two coaches have shifted from one traditionally powerful school to another. Kate Ripple, a former multi-sport star at Parkview Baptist, returns to her alma mater this fall after coaching at Episcopal.
Alex Rayner, most recently the head coach for Dutchtown High, takes over at Episcopal. Former DHS swimmer Spencer May is the new Dutchtown coach.
St. Joseph’s (Division I-5A girls), Lutcher (Division II-4A boys) and Parkview Baptist (Division III-3A boys) all posted runner-up finishes in their respective divisions last fall.
Catholic (Division I boys), Lutcher (Division II girls), Parkview (Division III girls) and Episcopal (Division III boys and girls) were all third-place finishers in their respective divisions.
Parkview and Baton Rouge High placed behind Catholic at last year’s CCSL meet, while Episcopal and University were the others to finish behind SJA on the girls side.
A new Louisiana High School Athletic Association rule that divides teams into equal divisions for swimming will also have an impact when the teams move to competition on the state level. Baton Rouge High moves from Division I to Division II, while Lutcher goes to Division III after a stint in Division II.
Dutchtown High junior Alyssa Dilldine was the voted the CCSL Outstanding Swimmer for girls a year ago. Dilldine is a distance specialist, who also won the Division I-5A titles in the 200- and 500-yard freestyles.
Breaststroke specialist Cameron Balkom, another junior, helps lead SJA, which also includes several other notable competitors. Kelly Smith and Helen Bone are the team captains. Victoria Padial, Joanne Tribou and Katelyn Rodriguez were other SJA swimmers on the All-Metro team a year ago.
Other returning All-Metro competitors include East Ascension’s Gabrielle and Hannah Core, U-High’s Caroline Forbes and Emily Rush, Dutchtown’s Sarah Kudijaroff and Episcopal’s Juliana White.
The list of leaders for Catholic includes senior captains Grant Grenfell and Colin Finnegan. Grenfell and Finnegan both compete in a variety of events. Grenfell’s specialties include the backstroke and butterfly. Finnegan was the CCSL Championship’s 200 individual medley winner last season.
Both seniors are returning All-Metro selections along with Christopher Cazenave, Chase Dansereau and Brian Primeaux.
Baton Rouge High’s Martin Braun and two Parkview swimmers, John Miller and Dainon Miles, also were All-Metro selections a year ago.
“You’ve got a lot of very talented swimmers who are back this year,” SJA’s Robelot said. “And I think a number of the teams will be real good, too.”