St. Joseph’s Academy coach George Newport was happy to offer an assessment of his team in advance of the LHSAA State Swim meet. But he also provided a humorous disclaimer.

“I really like our chances. The biggest thing for us was keeping the team together and keeping people healthy and so far we have done that so far,” Newport said. “It’s no secret that what we do is based on depth, so being healthy is important. I am just glad we get to swim.

“For the first time in my life I have something in common with Drew Brees. I had a bike accident and broke two ribs, so I won’t be there. But everything is in place. Again, I like our chances.”

The Redstickers seek their 10th straight Division I girls title on Saturday, the final day of the meet being held at Shreveport’s Northwest Louisiana YMCA after hurricane damage made competing in Sulphur.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions the meet will be conducted as timed finals for each division, starting with Division IV on Wednesday. There also will be separate sessions for boys each morning at 9:10 a.m. and girls at 3:40 p.m. No fans will be allowed because of COVID restrictions.

“Allowing no fans was not a decision we took lightly,” LHSAA assistant executive director Michael Federico said. “But given the COVID restrictions and space available, we could not take a chance by having fans. Our priority is having a successful meet for the swimmers.”

Federico said all four days of the meet is scheduled to be live-streamed by the NFHS Network for parents and fans.

Newport said he also likes the chances for his former school, Baton Rouge High, along with Mandeville to get on the awards stand. Assistant coach Alli Buchert will take over coaching duties in Newport’s absence.

Catholic coach Doug Logsdon also noted the importance with keeping competitors healthy. The defending Division I champion Bears have won five titles in the last seven years.

“I feel good about where we are and how we are competing,” Logsdon said. “More than anything else, I’m thankful we get to swim. So we are keeping out fingers crossed that everybody stays healthy these next three days.

“We have an experienced group and they know what to expect, even though it will be a different meet for sure and in a different location.”

Thursday’s Division III meet will feature two local swimmers who set meet records a year ago, Parkview Baptist’s Rylee Moore and Christopher Richardson of University. Liberty’s Riley Brown is one of the top returning competitors for Friday’s Division II meet.

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