SULPHUR — No two success stories are the same, a point Catholic High and St. Joseph’s Academy proved while winning state titles to close out the Allstate Sugar Bowl/Louisiana High School Athletic Association state swim meet Saturday.
Despite having one state record time wiped out by a disqualification, St. Joseph’s won its fourth straight Division I girls title in impressive fashion, scoring 420 points to finish well ahead of second-place Mandeville at 296 and Dominican at 261.
“The girls blew me away,” SJA coach Becca Barber said. “I knew we should do well, but they went well beyond my expectations. We had a lot of best swims.”
The going was tougher for Catholic. The Bears trailed Jesuit for a portion of the meet before surging in front during the final seven events as the four-day meet concluded at the SPAR Aquatic Center.
“After the 200 free relay, we really put it all together,” Catholic coach Doug Logsdon said. “I want to give the credit to Jesuit High School. At the beginning of the meet, they really brought it. They pushed us.”
The Bears finished with 416 points, ahead of traditional power Jesuit at 388. Mandeville placed third at 225. It was Catholic’s second straight title and third in the last four years.
Catholic and SJA also took home the meet’s top individual honors.
Clayton Black of St. Joseph’s was the Outstanding Girls Swimmer. She broke a 14-year-old state record in the first individual event, the 200-yard freestyle. Black’s winning time of 1 minute, 49.19 seconds broke both the Division I and composite/all divisions mark. It also was an automatic All-America qualifying time.
“I was just trying to do my best for my team,” Black said. “The 200 freestyle is one of my favorite events and I wanted to do my best for the seniors and everyone on my team.”
Catholic’s Colin Bone was picked the Outstanding Boys Swimmer for the second straight season. He broke his own Division I and composite mark in the 100 freestyle for the second straight day, winning in 45.06 seconds.
That 100 freestyle time was an automatic All-America time. Bone also won the 200 freestyle in 1:38.80 and set the stage for Catholic’s crucial win in the 200 freestyle relay. He swam the first leg and recorded a 50 freestyle split of 20.90 seconds, a time faster than the winning mark in 50 freestyle individual event.
“My 200 free was really good,” he said. “I was happy with it. My 100 … I just wanted to see what I could do because there was some great competition. (The team title) is phenomenal … it means so much. I’ve been with one of seniors, Brady Grenfell, for all my swimming career and to win it for him and the other seniors means so much.”
St. Joseph’s also had a double winner in Caroline Beene, who won the 50 freestyle in 23.73 seconds and the 100 freestyle in 51.27.
The Redstickers were disqualified after setting a meet record in the 200 medley relay because the team’s relay card was not turned in by the end of the heat. SJA came back to set meet marks while winning the 200 freestyle relay 1:35.75 and 400 freestyle relay in 3:29.77.
“We were very lucky that we had such a lead that (the disqualification) didn’t alter the final outcome,” Barber said. “That one is on me. I want them to know they got the record. … It just won’t go down in the records. The good thing is all four girls come back next year, so they’ll have another chance at it.”
Bethany Seagraves won the 100 backstroke in 58.34 seconds, and Amy Miller placed first in the 100 breaststroke in 1:04.34 for SJA.
Catholic’s final surge started with its 200 freestyle relay that won in 1:25.17, setting a meet and composite. The time also was an auto All-America mark.