St. Xavier Aquabombers Stay Perfect with 35th Classic Title
The magnitude of conducting the largest high school swimming and diving competition in the country is impressive. Using ten prelim venues coupled with finals at St. Xavier’s Keating Natatorium culminated in a real show for the 35th annual Southwest Ohio Swimming & Diving Classic. The officials who coordinate the even are real pros who have the best interests of the athletes at heart and it showed. The St. Xavier parents, families and staff performed admirably as hosts for the Finals on Saturday and Sunday.
The AquaBombers played a major role on the athletic side as they captured their 35th title scoring 926 points. Seven Hills followed with 236 and Centerville was right behind with 231. In all, over 2000 athletes participated representing over 100 high schools.
The AquaBombers got off to a great start capturing the 400 Medley in 3:21.46 [Justin Grender (SR), Scott Sobolewski (SO), Nicholas Perera (SR), Ansel Froass (SO)], the fastest ever. Five of the next six varsity events were captured by the Blue and White.
- 200 Free 1:41.47: Jean-Pierre Khouzam (SO)
- 50 Free 20.44: Grender – established meet record in prelims 20:40
- 100 Fly 49.95: Khouzam
- 100 Back 48.71: Grender
- 500 Free 4:31.46: Perera
- 200 Breast 2:01.93: Sobolewski
- 200 Free Relay 1:22.89 [Alex Wade (SR), Nick Czepukaitis (SR), Perera, Grender]
In addition, top three spots were garnered in the following events:
- 200 Free 1:41.53; Sam Fallon (SR) – 2nd
- 400 IM 4:00.61: Perera – 2nd
4:00.85: Ian Van Gorp – 3rd
- 500 Free 4:39.45: Fallon – 2nd
4:39.89: Grady Wheeler (JR) – 3rd
The Classic also offers the best and fastest JV events in the country. Once again the AquaBombers were in the middle of it all. Leading the way on night one were:
Cameron Jones (SO) 3rd – 100 IM 56.28
Kent Perry (SR) 3rd – 50 Breast 28.56
In the two JV events contested on Saturday night, St. X had 17 of the 32 swims. On the varsity side, 33 swims cracked the scoring column. It was a hot night at Keating despite brutal weather that delayed the meet earlier in the day.
The St. X divers went to work on Saturday afternoon at Miami qualifying all six entries back for finals at the University of Cincinnati. The talented group consisted of Josh Knapke (SR), Andrew Neyer (JR), Jacob Rodriguez (JR), Ben Cutforth (SO), Robert Hendon (SO) and Will Behimer (FR). Sunday’s performances netted 4 scorers:
Knapke – 4th 375.60 points
Behimer – 10th 312.00 points
Cutforth – 12th 297.00 points
Rodriguez – 13th 295.30 points
It was an eleven dive competition testing the quality and diversity of the divers. All were season bests for the “board boys”.
Ten hours after wrapping up at Keating, the swimmers and coaches were back in force at Miami for 7:00 a.m. warm-up and day two prelims. Another solid session set the tone for what was to follow Sunday back at 600 West North Bend Road with 45 swims punching their ticket for finals.
The athletes got even faster at night improving their prelims times at a 60% rate. Once again a one two punch in the evening events found the AquaBombers on top of the victory podium. The 200 Medley Relay 1:32.94 [Grender, Wade, Khouzam, Perera] delivered big time. Perhaps the most compelling swim of the entire weekend saw Grady Wheeler and Sam Fallon go head to head for the 1650. Through 60 laps they were dead even; an amazing sight. Wheeler prevailed by a scant twelve one hundredths of a second 15:45.62 and 15:45.74. Will Osterman (SR) picked up the 3rd place medal (15:58.82). RJ Myers (SO) claimed 8th (16:44.64) demonstrating a superior effort by the “distance guys”. All were lifetime bests.
Justin Grender won the 200 Back in record shattering fashion – 1:45.69. In addition, top three finishes on the varsity side were recorded by:
200 IM 1:53.16 – Ansel Froass
100 Free 44.94 – Justin Grender
46.49 – Nicholas Perera
200 Fly 1:52.42 – Jean-Pierre Khouzam
100 Breast 57.41 – Scott Sobolewski
58.30 – Answl Froass
The JV events heated up again, with the AquaBombers earning half of the qualifying places. Leading the way were Robert Prophater (SR) and Tristan Menninger (FR) who picked up thirds in the 50 Fly and 50 Back respectively.
- Inside the Numbers –
- 49 AquaBombers competed in 310 performances
- “Classic” Class Breakdown
- 15 Seniors
- 10 Juniors
- 16 Sophmores
- 8 Freshman
- 100% athletes had at least one best time or score for the meet
- Best Times Prelims 53%
- Best Times Finals 55%
- Top 4 Finshes 1st’s – 11
2nd’s – 8
3rd’s – 9
4th’s – 7
- All American Performances (Automatic! / Consideration #)
- 200 Medley Relay 1:32.94 [Grender, Wade, Khouzam, Perera]!
- 50 Free 20.40 Justin Grender !
- 100 Fly 49.95 Jean-Pierre Khouzam #
- 100 Free 44.94 Justin Grender !
- 500 Free 4:31.46 Nicholas Perera #
- 200 Free Relay 1:22.89 [Wade, Czepukaitis, Perera, Grender] !
- 100 Back 48.71 Justin Grender !