SHREVEPORT — Best two out of the three? It certainly was for the Ascension Episcopal girls, who claimed their second Division IV title in three years on the first day of the LHSAA State Swim meet.

“Any time you win a title, it’s a special thing,” Ascension Episcopal coach Colleen Barczyk said. “Being able to do it with this group of seniors means so much to me. They are such a great group of girls and they worked hard for it.”

The Blue Gators scored 291 points in Wednesday’s afternoon session at the YMCA of Northwest Louisiana to finish ahead of 2019 champion Newman (231) and another Lafayette area team, Episcopal School of Acadiana (221).

Pope John Paul II won its first boys Division IV title in the morning session of timed finals event with 337 points. AES placed third in the boys competition.

The four-day meet continues through Saturday with Division III boys up next at 9:10 a.m. Thursday, followed by the girls session at 3:40 p.m.

Though the swimmers were impressive, it may be hard to top the impression a few AES parents left Wednesday afternoon.

Because of COVID-19 restrictions, spectators are not allowed inside the pool area. However, a group of Blue Gators moms got as close as possible. They set up lawn chairs on the grass outside the facility and then stood at the windows and peered in to watch as much of each race as they could.

And there was plenty to see.

AES’ Ashley Gill, who is set to swim at Missouri, was selected as the Swimmer of the Meet after winning the 50-yard freestyle in 23.70 seconds and the 100 butterfly in 56.16.

Sophie Sierveld won the 200 individual medley in 2:12.32 and came back to set a pool record by winning the meet’s final individual event, the 100 breaststroke in 1:08.75.

“This meet was really different than what it is usually like. But I thought there was really good energy and I had a lot of fun,” Gill said. “I thought my 50 free was a good race, but my favorite events were the relays today.

“Getting to swim those events one last time with my teammates meant a lot to me. To win this (a team title) as seniors is really amazing.”

Ascension Episcopal won two of the three relays. Meanwhile, Episcopal School of Acadiana’s Regan Manning completed the distance double, winning the 200 and 500 freestyles.

Jack Aldridge won the 100 freestyle to help the AES boys claim their third-place finish.

“There are some things about this being a timed final that does not work in our favor,” Barczyk said. “But we swam great and we had a great time.

“More importantly, we are here at a meet. Finally, we’re racing again and that is what we all wanted.”


Email Robin Fambrough at rfambrough@theadvocate.com