"It never gets old and it never gets easy," is how St. Xavier assistant head coach Tom Keefe describes winning an Ohio High School Swimming & Diving crown. That was certainly the case this season as the AquaBombers faced the elements, a rugged schedule of meets and practices, and some of the finest competition in the country.
When the waters had settled, the snow subsided, and the score tabulated, St. X had indeed captured the Division 1 Championship. It marked the 35th overall, 15th in the last 16 years and 6 consecutive. The win was also a milestone for head coach Jim Brower, as he notched his 20th title and remains the winningest coach in Ohio High School Championship history.
St. X scored 255 points to out touch an extremely strong and well-prepared Toledo St. Francis squad who tallied 238. "St. Francis was tremendous and it took an incredible effort by our guys to prevail in such a tight meet," said Brower. "The Knights made us better, and we congratulate them as well as Moeller on outstanding seasons." Moeller was a solid 3rd.
After a stellar District meet, where St. X scored with every performance from all 23 athletes, the State Championship set up as an extremely tight event. And that's how it played out as the AquaBombers and Knights dueled in the pool for two days. St. Francis led through 7 of the 12 events and the two squads were only separated by 2 points entering the final three events. Outstanding performances were a necessity, and both teams delivered until St. X captured the 400 Free Relay to secure the victory and send the Blue & White back to the victory podium.
"We did journey together and what a ride it was," summarized Coach Brower.
In all, 18 athletes represented St. Xavier at Canton, 10 of them first-time State qualifiers. They covered all 12 events and scored in 10 of 12. Full results can be found at swimmeet.com. St. Xavier results:
200 Medley Relay - 2nd 1:33.50 (James Wray '15, Oliver Acomb '14, Adam Kranbuhl '14, Grant Carr '15) Automatic All-American
200 Free - 1st 1:35.84 Grant House '17 Automatic All- American
6th 1:41.70 Matt Slabe '16
11th 1:42.71 Sean Fallon '14
200 IM - 5th 1:52.47 Mitchell Frey '15
15th 1:56.10 Nate Jonas '16
100 Fly - 13th 51.93 Kranbuhl
100 Free - 1st 44.26 House, Automatic All-American
11th 46.69 Frey
500 Free - 6th 4:36.71 Slabe
10th 4:38.88 Jonas
16th 4:46.58 Graham Lindquist '15
200 Free Relay - 2nd 1:23.65 (Frey, Carr, Kranbuhl, House), Automatic All-American
100 Back - 6th 50.82 Wray
10th 52.29 Jake Westerkamp '14
100 Breast - 5th 57.70 Acomb
10th 58.75 Will Imbus '14
400 Free Relay 1st 3:05.28 (Slabe, Frey, Mike Montague '14, House), Automatic All-American
St. Xavier will celebrate the State Championship Team on Tuesday, February 25 at 2:30 p.m. in the Berning Gymnasium at St. X.