Conner makes splash with two records, wins D-III 50, 100 free state titles

SULPHUR — Jennings senior Brennan Conner was confident he would take back the Division III 50- and 100-yard freestyle state titles this year from Episcopal’s Eugene Jiang.

He did just that, and in record time Thursday at the Louisiana High School Athletic Association state swim meet at the Sulphur Parks and Recreation Aquatic Center.

The University of South Dakota signee won the 50 and 100 free championships for the third time in four seasons, setting a state composite record in the 50 and tying the composite record in the 100.

“It just feels amazing,” Conner said. “It feels real good after last year that definitely wasn’t the best.

“It feels real good to finish off like this my senior year.”

Conner started the meet with a blistering 20.42-second swim in the 50 with Jiang in the lane next to him. Jiang touched the wall in 20.92 seconds, .06 seconds off the record of 20.86 he set in 2020.

Conner knocked off .07 seconds off the old 50 freestyle state composite record set by Catholic-Baton Rouge’s Colin Bone in 2015.

After a brief break, he beat Jiang by 1.46 seconds in the 100 free, tying another Bone composite record from 2015 and knocking 1.19 seconds off the old Division III record set last year by University High’s Christopher Richardson.

Conner was buoyed by a packed house after the coronavirus pandemic prevented fans from attending the state meet last year in Shreveport.

“It felt real good,” Conner said. “(Jiang) is a hell of a racer.

“Last year, the atmosphere wasn’t the same without any fans and I was nervous. This year, my senior year, I was committed and ready to swim fast with no worries.”

Conner said he improved his training regiment under club coach Derek Shipp after a pair of runner-up finishes last season.

“I was well rested this year,” Conner said. “I watched what I ate and everything I needed to do to perform.

“Me and my club coach, we have been training how to strategically swim the 100, and it has really paid off.”

The St. Louis Catholic boys’ 200 freestyle team (William Bright, Thomas Alley, Jake Weaver, Jake Wing) finished fourth at 1:37.3. The Saints placed fifth in the 200 medley relay (Wing, Bright, Luke Monlezun, Alley) with a time of 1:51.82.

Bright missed a podium finish in the 100 breaststroke, taking fourth at 1:01.62.

E.D. White swept the team titles for a third consecutive season.

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