With Baton Rouge-based Crawfish Aquatics having more than twice as many entries as any other team in the Louisiana Long Course state swim championship, it was a foregone conclusion that they would easily win a team title.
Almost as expected was a hotly contested race for second place.
Four teams battled for that spot through the final day of the four-day state championship at the UNO pool. Baton Rouge’s Tiger Aquatics finished second with 3,183.5 points, and New Orleans-based Nu Wave placed third with 2,733 points. The Franco’s Fins from Mandeville finished fourth in combined team standings with 1853.5 points, and Crescent City Swim Club was fifth with 1,788 points.
Crawfish Aquatics almost doubled up their nearest opponent by scoring 6,278 points. Hundreds of the state’s finest youth and young adult swimmers took part in the event, which was hosted by Slidell’s Hurricane Swim Club.
With Crawfish sporting dominant numbers, Nu Wave coach Jacque Milican knew her team would be swimming for second place in the meet. Though Nu Wave placed third, she was very pleased with the squad’s performance against the best Louisiana has to offer.
“For us in the summer, it’s tough because we do have smaller numbers,” Millican said. “We want to get as close to second place as possible. That’s our goal. Third is good. You’d love second. … We know that Crawfish has pretty much triple the number of swimmers we have in this meet. For us, it’s about getting as many points in each swim as we can.”
Robbie Fritscher, coach of the Franco’s Athletic Club Fins, echoed the feeling.
“For the first time in a few years, we have some really good talent coming up through the ranks,” Fritscher said. “That’s a blessing. That’s our team of the future. … If we get fourth, we beat all the teams that have one location, then it’s a victory. I never really had to win state to feel like I’m doing something. I’ve always just wanted to have fast swimmers and be competitive at the top.”
Crescent City Swim Club coach Mike Falati knows what it’s like to be on top of the heap and have everyone gunning for you.
The team was a state champion several times before Hurricane Katrina dipped into its ranks.
Nine years later, the club has scratched its way back into annual contention.
“There are a lot of good clubs, and it’s nice to see all the kids swimming well,” Falati said. “If we don’t beat them, it doesn’t bother us so much. We know these are good teams. Nowadays, we make sure all the kids are doing well and go from there.
The most valuable swimmer awards went to Silas Dejean of Crawfish Aquatics and Kara Kopcso of Tiger Aquatics. Dejean broke state records in both 100- and 200-meter breaststroke events.
High-point winners in the meet were Emily Schexnayder, Crescent City, 10-and-under girls; Jacques Rathle, Crawfish, 10-and-under boys; Hannah Huenefeld, Bulldog Aquatic Club, 11-12 girls; Daniel Woodruff, Tiger Aquatics, 11-12 boys; Jolee Liles, Crawfish, 13-14 girls; Jackson Boersma, Bulldog Aquatics, 13-14 boys; Clayton Black, Tiger Aquatics, 15-16 girls; Kaden Amidon, City of Shreveport, 15-16 boys; Caley Oquist, Tiger Aquatics, open girls; and Mason Hutchinson, Crawfish, open boys.