South Lafourche swim team repeats as Bayou District champions
Tue. October 23, 2012 at 11:20 a.m. | By Perry Pitre/Sports Correspondent
South Lafourche's Natalie Dufrene helped the Lady Tarpons win their ninth straight Bayou District championship on Monday. (Photo by Addie Gibbons/Correspondent)
CUT OFF — At first it was a habit. Then it became a pattern. Now, it's almost inevitable.
South Lafourche continued its dominance of Bayou District swimming, with the Tarpon boys winning their 11th consecutive district championship, and the girls their ninth, at the annual Bayou High School League Championship meet Monday at the Cut Off Youth Center.
And this year, the dominance was complete. South Lafourche's boys accumulated 521 points, only 28 fewer than the second and third place teams combined. Berwick was second with 291, and Terrebonne finished third with 258.
The girls' competition was, relatively speaking, closer. The Lady Tarpons won with 474 points, well ahead of second place Terrebonne with 332. South Terrebonne was third with 249.
Four South Lafourche swimmers tied for large school District MVP. Brody Eymard and Nicholas Guidry tied with 40 points, winning two races each. Eymard took the 50- and 100-yard freestyles, while Guidry won the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard breaststroke. Guidry also won the award last year.
Natalie Dufrene, also a repeat winner, and Jordan Galliano duplicated the feat for the Lady Tarpons. Dufrene won the 200-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly. Galliano took first in the 200-yard individual medley and 100 yard backstroke.
South Laforuche swimmers finished first in 16 of 22 events, with the boys and girls each getting eight wins. South Lafourche won five of six relay races, and in the one race they didn't win — the boys 400-yard freestyle — the Tarpon "A" team finished second and the "B" team finished third, ahead of seven other schools.
The girls made up for that, though, in the 200 yard relay, with South Lafourche's "A" and "B" teams taking first and second respectively. In the boys 100-yard breaststroke, South Lafourche took first, third, fourth and fifth.
Only one race, the 500-yard freestyle, featured neither a Tarpon boy nor girl in first place. Micaiah Richie of South Terrebonne won the girls race, and Ryan Ratcliff of Central Catholic won the boys race in perhaps the two most impressive individual efforts of the meet. Richie took a 21 second win, and Ratliff came close to that, winning by more than 18 seconds.
Ratcliff also won the 200-yard freestyle to take the small school (4A and below) MVP. Payton Gold of South Terrebonne won the girls award, taking first in the 100 yard freestyle and 100 yard breaststroke.
South Lafourche coach Corey Callais credits two factors in this year's success. One is Dylan Danos, the South Lafourche swimmer who died earlier this year from complications after a double-lung transplant, a result of cystic fibrosis. Danos swam with the disease for two seasons before having the surgery, then came back just a few months after surgery to compete in last year's district championship.
Danos was, and remains, an inspirational leader for the team.
"We came into this season with a purpose," Callais said. "We had one of our swimmers who passed away, so we dedicated this season to a young man who was just pure heart. We just wanted to build on every meet. I give full credit to these kids. They're the ones who came out here and practiced. When it's cold, we swim. When it's hot, we swim. And with the spirit that Dylan gave us, that helps too. If you're swimming a race and you get tired, you remember that he started the race tired."
Callais also said he gave his seniors the same challenge he's been giving for years, with the same results.
"I always challenge my senior group, I ask them if they want to be the first class to lose the district championship," he said. "They always come through."
South Terrebonne's boys finished fourth, followed by Central Lafourche, Thibodaux, H.L. Bourgeois, Central Catholic, and Patterson.
On the girls' side, Central Lafourche and Berwick were five points apart at fourth and fifth. H.L. Bourgeois was sixth, followed by Thibodaux, Ellender, Patterson, and Central Catholic.