Jason Louser said he knew he had a chance of winning the 100-yard breaststroke title at the Section XI Championships, but he also knew it would be close. And it was — really close.
The first four swimmers finished within a mere 43/100ths of a second of each other. Louser, a 14-year-old freshman on the Shoreham-Wading River boys independent swimming team, said, “I was going into the wall, and I touched it as fast as I could, but I had no clue.”
No one immediately knew for sure who had won. That would take about five minutes because the scoreboard by the pool at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood was not in operation.
Finally, the results were announced over loudspeakers, and Louser learned that he was a Suffolk County champion for the first time.
“I just felt like accomplished,” he said.
What Louser accomplished was a personal-record time of 58.76 seconds in the meet, which was held on Feb. 13. That time was 21/100ths of a second faster than the runner-up, Sean Caraher of Say Bay Blue. John Casey of Hauppauge (59.07) and Alex Park of the ThunderColts (59.19) were third and fourth. All four swimmers qualified for the state meet that will be held March 4 and 5 at SUNY/Erie Community College in Buffalo.
It will be Louser’s second straight appearance in the state meet. He will also swim the 200-yard individual medley in Buffalo, having taken third in that event in the county meet in 1:57.19.
Louser’s fraternal twin brother, Joshua, also competed in the county meet. He was ninth in the 100-yard backstroke in 59.66 and 16th in the 200-yard individual medley in 2:13.45.
The third member of Shoreham’s team, senior Robert Kohlus, was 10th in the 100-yard butterfly in 55.55 and 21st in the 100-yard freestyle in 54.10. After high school Kohlus will swim for Mount Saint Mary College (N.Y.).
Speaking of Jason Louser’s county championship, Shoreham coach Taylor Kelly said: “It definitely means a lot to him. I think just now he’s starting to realize, that, ‘Wow, I can really swim this fast.’ ”
That is no secret.
The 6-foot-4 Jason Louser, who practices with the Three Village Swim Club in Ward Melville, is regarded as a genuine talent. USA Swimming has him ranked seventh in the 200-yard breaststroke, eighth in the 100-yard breaststroke, ninth in the mile, 18th in the 200-yard individual medley and 20th in the 500-yard freestyle in the 13-14 age group.
“He’s had talent since he was a 10-and-under [swimmer], and each year he continues to improve,” Kelly said. “He has a [college] future in D-I and probably a full scholarship if he wanted it.”
Photo caption: Three members of Shoreham-Wading River’s independent boys swimming team — from left, Joshua Louser, Robert Kohlus and Jason Louser — competed in the Section XI Championships. (Credit: courtesy photo)