Following last season, St. X. lost 7 All-Americans and 275 points from the 2018 Championship tally of 413. What could have been an insurmountable challenge, as the Aqua Bombers faced one of the most talented fields in Ohio history, turned into a daily commitment to improve as a team. The final performance of 2018-19 at the Ohio State Meet reaffirmed how far the team had come, as they brought home the trophy for the 40th time (most in State history / 11th in a row / 20th in last 21 years). It was an incredible performance in the water, on deck and in the stands.
The Long Blue Lane scored 310 points to out distance Sycamore (240), Toledo St. Frances (159) and Mason (151), in what became a Southwest District showcase. Every swimming win came from Greater Cincinnati in Division I, with eight records biting the dust. An astounding 90 swims will be under consideration for All-American status. St. X led the way with 13. In addition, it looks as if 21 efforts will factor into the equation for top 16 scoring at the National level.
It was a balanced and deep line-up for St. X, as they scored in all twelve events with multiple scorers in seven of the eight individual races. Leading the way was two-time winner Jean-Pierre Khouzam (JR) who swam to wins in the 100 Fly. His time of 47.25 broke the 18-year-old mark held by Jayme Cramer. His other victory came as part of the 200 Free Relay where he was joined by brother John Paul Khouzam (SR), Owen Taylor (SO) and Ian Van Gorp (JR). He was also part of the school record (1:28.94) 200 Medley Relay with Nathan Buse (JR), Scott Sobolewski (JR) and Taylor, which finished second.
Sobolewski also garnered a runner-up spot with a school record (54.25) in the 100 Breast. His effort was the fastest by a junior in Ohio history. Grady Wheeler (SR) climbed to second on the podium in the 500 Free. The final event saw the Blue & White racing hard to the number two spot with the 400 Free Relay of J.P. Khouzam, Sobolewski, Van Gorp and J-P Khouzam.
The St. X results will likely have national implications when rankings are released this summer.
- INSIDE THE NUMBERS –
*All American Performances
· 200 Medley Relay 1:28.94 (Automatic)!
· Wheeler 200 Free 1:38.79 (Consideration)
· Van Gorp 200 Free 1:40.03 (Consideration)
· Sobolewski 200 IM 1:50.27 (Consideration)
· Bernard 100 IM 1:51.54 (Consideration)
· Khouzam (Jean-Pierre) 100 Fly 47.21 (Automatic) !
· Buse 100 Fly 49.64 (Consideration)
· Khouzam (Jean-Pierre) 100 Free 44.79 (Automatic)
· Wheeler 500 Free 4:25.94 (Automatic)
· Roddy 500 Free 4:29.28 (Consideration)
· 200 Free Relay 1:22.69 (Automatic)
· Bernard 100 Back 50.10 (Consideration)
· Sobolewski 100 Breast 54.25 (Automatic)!
· Bernard 100 Breast 55.96 (Consideration)
· 400 Free Relay 3:01.79 (Automatic)
*26 top 50 swims
*State qualifying times faster in six of eight events
*State finals qualifying times faster in 5 of 8 events
*Ten of eleven event winners faster than last year
*89% of All St. X performances scored (24) – 54% Top Eight (13)
*68% Best Times
*7 “Rookies” at Canton (produced 62.5 points)
*”Class Act” Seniors (4), Juniors (9), Sophomores (2), Freshman (1)
*St. X was projected to score 309 points. Scored 310
*38% of swimmers at State were from SW District
*Topped 300 pints for 5th consecutive year
- COACHES COMMENTS –
“There is no question the level of competition inspired us. Half of our squad were rookies at Canton, but they responded extremely well. We train and compete with intensity as a team. We believe it paid significant dividends in the fastest championship meet in Ohio history. We were honored to be a part of it and gratified by the outcome”, analyzed head coach Tim Beerman.
“Coming to Canton and performing well takes a great deal of preparation. We certainly worked on that. Our performances particularly in finals was enhanced by the quality of athletes in the meet, the crowd and our ability to stay focused as a team. We look at the road to the championship as an eight-day endeavor, beginning with the District meet. There is no question that being part of the Southwest District requires an all-out effort throughout. It was great to see it come to fruition in such a dynamic way,” commented assistant head coach Jim Brower.
“As we say, it never gets old and it never gets easy. It’s hard to earn a spot in Canton and just as hard to deliver a quality performance once you arrive. Our guys were willing to work hard, overcome challenges and grow as a team. Points on the scoreboard are rewards for our athletic activities. Smiles on a lot of faces indicate the fulfillment of a journey together,” summarized assistant head coach Tom Keefe.
“Diving is a very relevant part of the aquatics program at St. X. We were pleased to contribute at State. Our athletes support one another and that certainly is an important component for success,” added diving coach Brandon Unthank.