Newman Boys Win State Swimming Championship; Girls Are Runner-Up
The Newman Swim team traveled to Sulphur, Louisiana on Wednesday and Thursday to participate in the LHSAA State Championship Swimming Tournament. The Boys team finished in first place to take home the State title for the fourth consecutive year; the Girls team had an impressive showing and finished as State Runner-Up.
This was the Boys team’s fourth State Championship title in a row. They won the meet with 385 points, which was 132 points ahead of the 2nd place team. The 200 Medley Relay team of Pierce Thionville, Ross Jacobson, James Nguyen, and Melle Koper broke the Newman school record set for this event in 2001 with their time of 1:41.95.
The Girls team scored 167 points to finish as State Runner-Up. (See below for more details about the results.)
Head Coach Kristi Rigterink reflected on the achievement:
“Overall, this was a successful, and great State Championship run. It was special to me because I have graduated my first class. When I began coaching with Newman in 2015, the seniors were all freshmen, and so it has been wonderful to see them grow as individuals in and out of the pool over the past four years.
The boys had a dominating performance which was fun to watch. We had 13 boys, almost all of whom scored. It was great to see them work together to put 385 points on the board. On the girls side, they fought hard to close the gap that Ascension Episcopal had going into finals. I am extremely happy with the way they competed as a team to make Ascension work for that win. We had 10 girls compete, and 9 girls score points in finals which is a great team accomplishment. We had numerous lifetime best times, and as a coach I cannot ask for more than that! It is so rewarding to see all my high school swimmers put the work in all season and have it pay off at the State Championship meet.
The Newman 200 Medley Relay broke a 17-year-old Newman school record from 2001 (1:42.55). The 200 Medley relay consisted of Pierce Thionville in the backstroke leg, Ross Jacobson in the breaststroke leg, James Nguyen in the butterfly leg, and senior Melle Koper in the freestyle leg. Their efforts secured a 2nd place finish in the race at 1:41.95. Interestingly enough, Ross and Melle were born in 2001, Pierce was born in 2002, and James was born in 2003, so they were not yet born when the previous record was set!
Pierce Thionville was named the Boys meet MVP, which was very exciting. He won both his races; first, the 500 Free (4:42.22), then returning about 15 minutes later to win the 100 Back in 52.49. He was also a member of the winning 400 Free Relay.
Melle Koper, in his senior year performance, was 3rd in the 50 Free, and 4th in the 100 Free, and also a member of the winning 400 Free Relay.
Nathaniel Kramer, in his senior year performance, was 7th in the 100 Breast and 6th in the 100 Butterfly.
Gard Gudvangen, in his senior year performance, was 3rd in the 200 Free and 4th in the 500 Free.
Floris Kuiper, in his senior year performance, was 5th in the 100 Free and 50 Free, member of the 3rd place 200 Free Relay, and member of the winning 400 Free Relay.
James Nguyen, a sophomore, was part of the record-breaking 200 Medley Relay, and was 3rd in the 100 Back, and 4th in the 100 Fly. He was also a member of the winning 400 Free relay.
Ross Jacobson was 4th in the 200 IM, and 5th in the 100 Breast and also part of the 400 Free Relay.
Girls were the State Runner-Ups with 167 points, Ascension Episcopal won the meet with 178 points. Newman took 3rd in each of the following relays.