LHSAA.swimming.finals.D2-2.jpg

Ella Balhoff of STM competes in the 100 yard butterfly event of the LHSAA State Swim Meet at SPAR Aquatic Center in Sulphur, La., Saturday, Nov.23, 2019. (Rick Hickman/Lake Charles American Press)

SULPHUR — A second-place finish by the St. Thomas More girls team and a top honor for Lafayette High sophomore Anni Thompson were Acadiana-area highlights on the final day of the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Swim meet on Saturday.

The STM girls, led by seniors Hannah Richard and Ella Balhoff, were the runners-up to Covington-based St. Scholastica in the Division II meet that opened Saturday’s competition at the SPAR Aquatic Center.

“Just their attitude … they have all been very positive and supportive of each other,” STM coach Chris Landreneau said. “They are all over the place grade-wise with a lot of different maturity levels, but they have come together well.

“Hannah and Ella are both solid leaders. They are both top-notch. They are two of the best swimmers I’ve ever coached and they came through for us again today.”

Richard won the 200-yard individual medley in 2 minutes, 19.78 seconds and placed third in the 100 backstroke. Balhoff was the 100 butterfly champion in 59.80 seconds also finished third in the 200 freestyle.

“I’ve been swimming for 11 or 12 years, and high school swimming is my favorite,” Richard said. “The hype and experience you get here … there is nothing like it. It is unreal and so much fun to pour your heart and soul into the pool.”

St. Scholastica won its ninth straight title with 455.5 points, ahead of STM at 284. Academy of Sacred Heart-New Orleans was third at 191. Holy Cross won the Division II boys title with 362 points.

Thompson of Lafayette High was selected as the Outstanding Girls Swimmer for the Division I meet that concluded the four-day event. She won the 200 IM in 2:08.71 and later won the 500 freestyle in 4:58.63.

“It’s funny, I came in thinking the IM would be the better race, but the 500 was the best,” Thompson said. “Getting the chance to race against Natalie (Stump of Barbe) really pushed me in that 500 and made me go faster. Getting the (Outstanding Swimmer) award is a really good thing.”

Email Robin Fambrough at rfambrough@theadvocate.com