St. Joseph’s Academy Girls Win 13th Straight LHSAA Division I Title By Single Point

2023 LHSAA Division 1 Swimming Championships

The St. Joseph’s Academy girls flexed their team depth during the Louisiana High School Division I State Championship finals last weekend, securing their 13th consecutive team title by one point despite winning zero events.

On the boys’ side, Catholic High School rolled to victory, outpacing defending champion Jesuit by 110 points for their second title in the last four years and ninth overall.


The Saint Joseph’s girls managed to emerge victorious in the team race thanks to incredible team depth, as all 16 swimmers put points on the board and nine of them scored 20+.

Leading the way for the team was senior Anna Guidroz, who was 2nd in the 50 free (24.38) and 3rd in the 100 free (53.32) to score 33 points, while junior Lyla Roper (32), senior Laura Purgerson (30) and freshman Molly Mayo (30) also eclipsed the 30-point barrier for the team.

“They did everything we needed them to do today,” St. Joseph’s coach Ali Buchart said, according to The Advocate. “This, more than any other year, was a complete team effort.

“We brought 17 girls here, including one alternate, and all 16 entered in the meet scored for us. We could not have done it without every single swimmer.

“We got what we needed. They put their heart, soul and everything they had into this meet. And it showed.”

Finishing as the runner-up team, scoring 417 points to St. Joseph’s 418, was Dominican High School, which had six event victories including a relay sweep and an individual double from freshman Kendall Jollands.

Jollands set best times en route to wins in the 100 back (57.60) and 100 fly (55.78), and also contributed on the winning 200 medley (1:47.29) and 400 free relays (3:35.50).

In the 200 medley, Jollands (27.06), Kayleigh Jollands (30.43), Haley Valdine (25.69) and Virginia Robinson (24.11) combined for a time of 1:47.29, narrowly missing the eight-year-old state record of 1:46.98 set by St. Joseph’s.

In the meet-ending 400 free relay, Robinson led off in 53.26 as Dominican won in a time of 3:35.50.

Valdine, a junior, added a win of her own in the 200 IM (2:08.74), setting a new lifetime best.

Also doubling up individually was Mandeville senior Layla Allen and Southside freshman Andi Clement.

Allen won the 200 free (1:54.94) and 500 free (5:05.91), while Clement topped the 50 free (24.09) and 100 free (52.92), setting a pair of best times (24.03 in the 50 free prelims).

Also winning on the day was Mandeville sophomore Emma Dobie, who dominated the 100 breast in a time of 1:03.93, coming within 65 one-hundredths of the 30-year-old state record held by Keri Coy (1:03.28, 1993). That marked a sizeable best time for Dobie, who had previously never been sub-1:05 (1:05.39 en route to last year’s title).

Team Scores – Top 5

  1. St. Joseph’s Academy, 418
  2. Dominican, 417
  3. Mount Carmel Academy, 212
  4. St. Amant, 149
  5. Mandeville, 148


The Catholic boys rolled to victory behind strong relays, winning two of the three team events to go along with one individual title from senior Alex Cooper.

Cooper topped the 200 free in 1:42.66, and was also the runner-up in the 100 back (50.62) to lead the team with 37 points.

Cooper also contributed to the winning 400 free relay, which featured senior Sammy Smith anchoring in 45.55 to outduel Jesuit senior Jack Primeaux (46.13) as Catholic (3:08.18) took down Jesuit (3:08.76).

In the 200 free relay, Catholic dominated the field by more than five seconds in 1:25.30, coming within 13 one-hundredths of their own state record from 2014 with the fastest split coming from junior Jackson Gautreau (20.26).

“I am so proud of the kids and so proud of how well they came together,” Catholic coach Nelson Sanchez said. “I think everybody took note of the efforts everyone else was making all day.

“They fed off of each other and that energy in all their races. It was awesome to see.”

In the first boys’ event of the night, the Jesuit quartet of Primeaux (23.12), Ben Breithaupt (27.61), Aidan Villars (23.20) and Enzo Solitario (20.30) combined to break their year-old LHSSAA record in 1:34.23, lowering the 1:34.40 mark set by the 2022 squad that included both Primeaux and Solitario.

Primeaux and Solitario were among the top individual performers at the meet, as they both swept their events, as did Destrehan senior Colin Candebat.

Primeaux defended his titles in the 100 back (49.51) and 100 fly (49.25), with his swim in the 100 fly marking a new lifetime best after cracking 50 seconds for the first time in February. He also came within earshot of the 48.88 state record.

Solitario, a junior, emerged atop the heap in the 50 free (20.31) and 100 free (44.40), both sizeable lifetime bests, with the 100 free marking a new state record, breaking the year-old mark of 44.54. Last year as a sophomore, he was 2nd in the 200 IM and 5th in the 100 fly.

Candebat, a Henderson State commit, swept the 100 breast (58.12) and 200 IM (1:52.98), setting PBs in both.

The other event winner was Dutchtown junior Matthew O’Konski, who touched 1st by more than six seconds in the 500 free (4:39.42). His lifetime best stands at 4:34.99 from earlier this year.

Team Scores – Top 5

  1. Catholic, 426
  2. Jesuit, 316
  3. Baton Rouge Magnet, 188
  4. St. Pauls, 165
  5. Destrehan, 140

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La all star
3 months ago

Any d3 results?

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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