2019-09-26 / Ascension Episcopal swimming eyes repeat as state champions

Ascension Episcopal understands what they've lost. It's no secret that Jillian Barczyk, a six-time Division IV state champion who is now swimming at the University of Georgia, meant a lot to the Lady Blue Gators' swimming program. And replacing her isn't going to be easy. "You don't get a Jillian very often," Lady Blue Gators swimming coach Colleen Barczyk said. "Jillian is a very talented athlete, so replacing her is going to be very challenging."

But the Lady Blue Gators, who are looking to repeat as the Division IV state champions, have several swimmers who appear up to the task of filling in for what the program lost with the graduation of Jillian Barczyk and others.

"Every year, we have some new swimmers who step up during the high school season and wow me," said Colleen Barczyk, whose Lady Blue Gators will participate in the swimming meet held at the Robichaux Center on Tuesday.

"I feel there is just a little pressure," Lady Blue Gators junior Lily Dore said. "We have some new girls who are still getting comfortable, but I feel that as we go further into the season, everyone will become more confident."

Two swimmers — Ashley Gill and Sophie Sierveld — are going to be counted on to help lead the Lady Blue Gators this season. Gill, a highly recruited junior, was the Division IV state champion in both the 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke in 2018. Sierveld, a junior, was the state runner-up in both the 100 breaststroke and 50 freestyle last year.

"Ashley and Sophie are both two great swimmers," Colleen Barczyk said. "Ashley loves to race. She's not an overthinker. I believe she is going to go very far in swimming, because she has the bug.

"Sophie, is a versatile swimmer," Colleen Barczyk continued. "She is a workhorse and someone we can put anywhere. Whatever we need Ashley or Sophie to swim, they are more than willing to do it."

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