SHREVEPORT — Records are expected whenever a championship swim meet is held. The Division III boys competition at LHSAA State Swim meet took it to an exceptional level.
Swimmer of the Meet Jacques Rathle of E.D. White set the tone as competitors broke records in 10 of the 11 boys events on Thursday at the YMCA of Northwest Louisiana.
“We have a bunch of really fast dudes in this Division III,” said Rathle, a recent Auburn signee. “I think it is one of the fastest in the state. I am happy with all the guys … my teammates at E.D. White and the guys I swim with year-round.
“We have all grown up together. We all push each other to go faster and get better. And once one guy goes fast, then the next wants to and so on from there.”
Thibodaux-based E.D. White swept the Division III team titles for the second straight year. It was the fourth title in a row for the boys, who scored 409 points. The EDW girls tallied 321.
University High and Calvary Baptist each scored 162 to tie for second in the boys competition. Episcopal at 231 was second on the girls side as Parkview Baptist’s Rylee Moore was selected as the Swimmer of the Meet for the girls.
The boys division came first and was possibly the most impressive LHSAA single session ever.
Want a gauge of how fast it was? One record — the 100-yard freestyle — was broken twice, first by Episcopal’s Eugene Jiang (45.92 seconds) and then by University’s Chris Richardson (45.90) on the leadoff leg of the 400 freestyle relay.
There were two events where multiple swimmers broke Division III and composite/all divisions records. Rathle was involved in one of those swims.
Rathle started his day by winning the 200-yard individual medley, breaking his own Division III and composite record with a time of 1 minute, 46.45 seconds, lowering the mark by more than three seconds.
In the 100 breaststroke, Rathle as seeded second behind Teurlings Catholic’s Avery Henke. He took the lead on the second 50 yards and won in 54.40 seconds, just ahead of Henke (54.96). Both broke an 18-year composite record by nearly two seconds.
However, the most impressive race came just before the 100 breaststroke. Lusher Charter’s Derek Zhang had already broken his own record in the 100 butterfly. He then won the 100 backstroke in 49.55, ahead of the previous Division III record holder, U-High’s Richardson and Christian Booth of Calvary.
“It was great … we have a really fast division,” Zhang said. “I did not think it would be that fast. I knew they were close, but I did not know they were that close.”
Richardson said the second-place backstroke finish was motivation to push for Jiang’s 100 freestyle record during the relay a short time later.
“I was a little mad about finishing second, so I went really hard,” Richardson said. “Eugene and I are teammates outside of high school. It’s a friendly competition and I got the last one today.”
Richardson, who broke the 200 freestyle record, and Jiang were high profile performers.
"I thought my 50 felt a little better," Jiang said. "This was a really good day."
Parkview's Moore and Calvary's Sarah Holt paced the girls division. Holt set the lone Division III mark of the girls session by winning the 200 free in 1:51.84. She also won the 100 butterly.
Moore just missed breaking her own record in the 100 backstroke, finishing in 55.16. She also won the 200 IM.
“I think I am going to remember how this state meet was different than the others I competed in,” Moore said. “It’s also the one I cried the most. As seniors, it was an emotional one for us.”