Deciding four state titles in a four-day span makes the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA State Swim Meet a relatively simple event to understand.
There’s one very straight-forward question for three top local teams as the annual event begins Wednesday at the SPAR Aquatic Center in Sulphur with preliminary races for Divisions III and IV.
To repeat, or not to repeat — that’s the burning question for Catholic High, Episcopal and St. Joseph’s Academy.
“I knew how strong Division III was from the last time we were in there,” Episcopal coach Stephen Anderson said. “When I saw the psyche sheet, I couldn’t get over how many crazy fast times there are.
“You’ve got a lot of swimmers and a lot of really fast times. It is stronger than the last time we were in it. These girls have experience, and they’re going in with the same mindset: They want to win.”
The Episcopal girls and Lutcher boys lead the local Division III contingent. The day begins with preliminary races in Division IV starting at 10 a.m. The Division III prelims were pushed back to 5:30 p.m. to allow cross country runners to make the trek from Natchitoches in order to compete.
Finals follow at 9:30 a.m. Thursday for Division IV and 3 p.m. for Division III.
Prelims for Divisions II and I start Friday at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The finals Saturday follow the 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. format.
Episcopal seeks its fourth straight girls title after winning the past two Division IV girls and a Division III title in 2012. St. Joseph’s Academy has won the past four Division I girls titles.
The Division I boys streak by Catholic High is two in a row and three of the past four. Lutcher, meanwhile, looks to keep E.D. White from repeating in the Division III boys competition.
“Prelims and finals meets aren’t easy, and for this one there’s only one approach,” Catholic coach Doug Logsdon said. “We see it as two meets. You need to go out and swim as a fast as you can to win Friday and then you have to do it again Saturday.”
Chanler Turnley leads Episcopal with top entry marks in the 100- and 200-yard freestyles. Parkview Baptist’s Jolee Liles (200 individual medley, 500 freestyle) and Lutcher’s Luke Zeringue (50, 100 freestyles) also have two top marks in Division III. Dunham’s Olivia Huffman (50, 100 freestyles) has two top marks in Division IV.
“We’re in a good spot like we’ve been before,” Lutcher coach Lanny Remondet said. “We have the potential to drop some time.”
Time drops are crucial for Catholic and St. Joseph’s, too. Logsdon sees the 50, 100 and 500 freestyles as key events for the Bears. Auburn signee Colin Bone has the top 50 and 100 entry marks for the Bears, who are expected to again battle traditional power Jesuit along with Hahnville and Rummel.
SJA coach Becca Barber is placing an emphasis on relays and finishing individual events strong. LSU signee Clayton Black (200, 500 freestyles), Texas A&M signee Amy Miller (100 freestyle, 100 breaststroke) and Bethany Seagraves (200 IM, 100 backstroke) lead the Redstickers in their battle with Mandeville, Mount Carmel and Dominican.
“All the work is done,” Barber said.
“Now it’s all about who can touch that wall first.”