(photos courtesy of Cincinnati.com)
AquaBombers Claim 50th Consecutive District Crown – Head to Canton
In record shattering fashion, the St. Xavier Swimming and Diving program earned its 50th straight Southwest District Championship Saturday at Miami University. The team earned a record 649 points as a meet maximum 39 performances (diving and swimming) all scored for the first time ever. Moeller finished second (188), Sycamore third (171), Mason fourth (161) and Centerville fifth (140). Over thirty schools make up the most dominant district in the state and historically one of the fastest in the country. This year 38% of all state qualifiers will represent the Southwest District.
It was indeed a complete team effort as all 24 athletes placed in the top 12. The 649 points was only 83 shy of posting a “perfect score.” The AquaBombers swept the relays, as well as picking up victories in six of the eight individual events. The 200 Medley Relay [Justin Grender (SR), Alex Wade (SR), Jean-Pierre Khouzam (SO), Nicholas Perera (SR)] established a new record of 1:30.84. Previous record was set by St. X last year. Grender also established a new mark in the 50 Free (20.20) eclipsing the 26 year old mark of St. X Olympian Joe Hudepohl. Grender added a third record with a victory in 100 Back (47.73) erasing the mark of Luke Sobolewski from last season.
Additional event winners were:
Nicholas Perera 200 IM (1:49.14)
Jean-Pierre Khouzam 100 Fly (48.75)
Ansel Froass (SO) 100 Free (45.91)
Nicholas Pfeifer (SR), Nicholas Czepukaitis (SR), Froass, Wade – 200 Free Relay (1:24.78)
Scott Sobolewski (SO) 100 Breast (55.46)
Grender, Czepukaitis, Froass, Perera 400 Free Relay (3:02.43)
All three relay swims were All-America performances, as were Perera’s 200 IM, Khouzam’s 100 Fly, Grender’s 50 Free, 100 Back, 100 Free Relay swim and Sobolewski’s 100 Breast. Sobolewski replaced Grant House as the fastest breaststroker in school history. All America consideration efforts were garnered by Khouzam (200 Free), Froass (200 IM) and Perera (500 Free).
All 35 swims were Top 50 performances for the Blue and White. Diving, 200 Free, 200 IM, 100 Fly, 100 Free and 500 Free were events in which the AquaBombers placed all 4 entries in the top eight.
All three relays qualified for the State meet and will have plenty of company as the following athletes qualified for the most exciting high school swimming meet in the U.S.:
Jonathan Bernard [JR] (100 Breast)
Nate Buse [SO] (100 Fly, 100 Back)
Nicholas Czepukaitis [SR] (200 Free, 100 Free)
Sam Fallon [SR] (200 Free, 500 Free)
Ansel Froass [SO] (200 IM, 100 Free)
Justin Grender [SR] (50 Free, 100 Back)
Scott Holcomb [SR] (100 Free)
Jean-Pierre Khouzam [SO] (200 Free, 100 Fly)
John Paul Khouzam [JR] (50 Free)
Josh Knapke [SR] (Diving)
Will Osterman [SR] (500 Free, 100 Back)
Nicholas Perera [SR] (200 IM, 500 Free)
Brian Robertson [SR] (100 Fly)
Scott Sobolewski [SO] (200 IM, 100 Breast)
Ian Van Gorp [SO] (200 IM, 100 Fly)
Alex Wade [SR] (50 Free, 100 Breast)
Grady Wheeler [SR] (200 Free, 500 Free)
Competition begins Friday with prelims in Canton.
- Inside the Numbers-
- 89% Best Times
- 12 of the 24 athletes were making their first appearance at the District meet
- 11 Aquabombers will suit up for the first time at Canton
- Every Qualifying time for state was faster than last year (several fastest ever)
- Six of twelve events this year surpassed last season’s marks
- “Class Act” 11 Seniors – 4 Juniors – 7 Sophomores – 2 Freshmen
- Coaches Comments –
“It was a great performance by a great group of student athletes. We have more racing to do, but we set ourselves up well for Canton,” commented head coach Tim Beerman.
“Our guys were really focused and we continue to get better. Personally, heading to my hometown of Canton makes for a great trip with an inspired team,” added a happy coach Jim Brower.
“This was special for me as it was 50 years ago that we lost a district meet, my senior year. I feel like the guys took care of that today. I am blessed to have been part of it,” concluded coach Tom Keefe.
For the first time in St. X history, four AquaBombers placed in the top eight in diving. Senior Josh Knapke’s runner-up performance led the way and earned him a return trip to Canton next week. He was joined by Ben Cutforth (SO) in 6th, Will Behimer (FR) 7th, and Jacob Rodriguez (JR) 8th. It was truly a historic night for athletes, coaches, family, teammates and fans, many of whom journeyed to Oxford to witness the event.
Knapke’s score of 478.85 was the highest by a St. X diver in at least 20 years. Cutforth’s 379.40 points was also a personal best.
“I am so proud of these guys and what they have accomplished,” expressed a very happy diving coach Brandon Unthank.
“When we say St. Xavier Swimming and Diving we mean it. Eight divers on the team show the growth in so many ways of the total program. I speak for all the coaches and athletes when I say, ‘well done’,” concluded head coach Tim Beerman.
“Their performances will have National implications,” noted coach Tom Keefe.
What for years has been the “Biggest Show on Surf” for the St. X swimmers, became the biggest Fred Cooper District Invitational in history Sunday at Keating Natatorium. Over 400 athletes coupled with a packed stands made for a memorable event in many ways. The AquaBombers, represented by 49 athletes, led the way by capturing first in every event, punctuated by a record setting 400 Free Relay! Sophomore Jamie Donovan was named Swimmer of the Meet.
200 Medley Relay 1:43.29 [Carter Dwyer (SR), Sean Hergenrother (SR), Luke DiGiacomo (SR), Teedy Bayer (SR)]
200 Free 1:46.05 Adam Lamping (FR)
200 IM 2:02.16 Jaime Donovan (SO)
50 Free 23.30 Kevin Heller (SR)
100 Fly 55.35 Lucas Ecker (SO)
100 Free 49.32 Teddy Bayer (SR)
500 Free 4:53.37 Donovan
200 Free Relay 1:33.08 [Ecker, Heller, Cooper Williams (FR), Evan Schell (JR)]
100 Back 56.44 Connall Kellner (FR)
100 Breast 1:05.22 DiGiacomo
400 Free Relay 3:17.54 [Lamping, Schell, Brady Holcomb (SO), Robert Prophater (SR)]
The AquaBombers were first and second in all events and showed particular quality and depth by going 1 – 2 – 3 on all relays. In addition, the 200 Free (1 – 4), 200 IM (1 – 5), 100 Free (1 – 3), 100 Back (1 – 3) and 100 Breast (1 – 3) were events of particular strength. While no team score was kept, the Men in Blue caps had 49 top eight top eight finishes and 71 top sixteen finishes. Equally impressive was the fact that 100% of the AquaBombers shared in a remarkable 87% Best Times. In individual events, the percentage was a “staggering” 97%.
- INSIDE THE NUMBERS –
- 12 teams from SW Ohio participated
- 30 individual St. X swims would have scored at Sectionals
- 8 St. X relays would have placed top eight at Sectionals
- 18 St. X individual swims would have qualified for Districts
- 10 St. X relays would have qualified for Districts
- “Class Distinctions” Seniors – 12 Juniors – 4 Sophomores – 18 Freshmen – 15
- 24 of 25 relays out performed their entry times.
- COACHES COMMENTS –
“It was a very exciting and gratifying way to end the season for the majority of our team. What all of these student athletes contributed was a culmination of dedication, focus and support by teammates and families. We are blessed a part of it,” reflected coach Don DiGiacomo.
“So much time and effort goes into this special event. The outcome justifies the work, as well as setting the tone as we head to Districts,” said head coach Tim Beerman who served as meet director.
“Fred Cooper was a remarkable man. To honor him in a truly significant manner means a great deal to those of us who knew him,” concluded coach Tom Keefe.
St X DIVERS RUN THE TABLE AT SECTIONALS
The St. Xavier diving contingent of Josh Knapke (SR), Ben Cutforth (SO), Will Behimer (FR) and Jacob Rodriguez (JR) went 1 – 4 at the Cincinnati Sectionals earning a maximum of 68 points. All four easily qualified for the District meet next week with their performances.
KNAPKE – 1st 476 points – Personal Best
CUTFORTH – 2ND 367.15 points – Personal Best
BEHIMER - 3rd 337.85 points – Personal Best
RODRIGUEZ – 4th 335.75 points – Personal Best
“Very solid performances. We continue to work hard and the results showed up tonight,” commented diving coach Brandon Unthank.
AQUABOMBERS CLAIM 72ND GCL TITLE
St. Xavier Swimming and Diving has a long and storied tradition as does the GCL. The AquaBombers added their 72nd title to the trophy going back to 1932. The program last lost the crown in 1955 (according to GCL records). The Men of X tallied 549 points followed by Moeller (293), Elder (154) and LaSalle 138.
The divers got things rolling with a 1 – 3 – 4 – 5 finish led by Josh Knapke (SR) with ample support from Jacob Rodriguez (JR), Will Behimer (FR) and Ben Cutforth (SO). The diving was contested on Sunday at Sycamore High School.
Wednesday night the swimmers took their turn in adding another chapter to the season’s story. Paced by swimmer of the meet RJ Myers (SO) who set two meet records (200 Free – 1:42.36 and 500 Free 4:36.96), the Long Blue Lane swam its way to wins in each of the eleven events. Joining Myers on top of the podium were individual winners Andrew Devin (JR) [50 Free and 100 Back], Nathan Wall (FR) [200 IM], John Paul Khouzam (JR) [100 Fly], Daniel Stroh (SR) [100 Free] and Kent Perry (SR) [100 Breast].
Relay wins went to:
200 Medley Relay – 1:37.21 [Devine, Perry, Khouzam, Aki Li (JR)]
200 Free Relay – 1:28.69 [Robert Prophater (SR), Christian Wall (JR), Li, Stroh]
400 Free Relay – 3:13.35 [Myers, Wall, C., Kellen Roddy (SO), Stroh]
The squad went one-two in each individual event and had clean sweeps (1 – 2 – 3 – 4) in 200 Free, 200 IM and 500 Free. The performances by the 24 athletes resulted in a score only eleven points shy of “maxing” out.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- 95% Season Best Times
- 85% Lifetime Best Times
- Eight Events faster than last year
- All 35 swims would have qualified for District last year
- 13 swims involving ten athletes would have qualified for State last year
- 9 swims involving nine athletes would have scored at State last year
- This year’s total points were two higher than last year
- “Class Act” – 6 Seniors, 8 Juniors, 6 Sophomores, 4 Freshmen
- Eleven Top 50 Performances
Head coach Tim Beerman, a former GCL champion as an athlete, was extremely pleased commenting, “Everyone stepped up and contributed. This meet and the performances set a very positive tone as we move forward.”
“As a coaching staff, we are all extremely pleased with how things went tonight. The guys work so hard and to see their efforts come to fruition is very gratifying,” noted coach Jim Brower.
“There are so many moveable parts with our program. To see it come together in the stands, in the water and behind the scenes is a tribute to athletes, their families, coaches, officials, fans and quality competition,” summarized coach Don DiGiacomo.
“We extend our best wishes and thanks to John Sullivan (AD),” said coach Tom Keefe.
Sullivan is moving to a new athletic director position in North Carolina and witnessed his last GCL meet.
DIVERS SET TONE FOR GCL CHAMPIONSHIP
The St. Xavier divers posted impressive scores and finishes Sunday to get the GCL Championship off to a flying start. Senior Josh Knapke finished first with a personal best of 260.00 points. He was not alone as Jacob Rodriguez scored with a best ever of 213.35 good for third. Freshman Will Behimer (196.25) and sophomore Ben Cutforth (194.05) claimed 4th and 5th respectively.
“We showed quality, depth and team balance as we had representatives from each class. We now can focus on sectionals and beyond,” concluded diving coach Brandon Unthank.
“SENIOR MOMENTS” DOMINATE AQUABOMBER WIN OVER MOELLER
Thursday evening the St. Xavier Swimming and Diving program took time to pay tribute to its 25 seniors and their parents. Those honored:
TJ AHRENS, SAM FALLON, WILL OSTERMAN, MARCUS BAUER, JUSTIN GRENDER, NICHOLAS PERERA, TEDDY BAYER, JR, ERICH GUENTHER, KENT PERRY, CARTER CREVISTON, KEVIN HELLER, NICK PFEIFER, NICK CZEPUKAITIS, SEAN HERGENROTHER, LUKE PRATHER, LUKE DIGIACOMO, SCOTT HOLCOMB, ROBERT PROPHATER, CARTER DWYER, JOSH KNAPKE, BRIAN ROBERTSON, BRENDAN EAGAN, WILLIAM LOPEZ, DANIEL STROH, ALEX WADE
In addition, the seniors and the respective parents from Moeller, St. Ursula and Ursuline participated in the pre-meet traditions. Certainly the evening presented an abundance of emotion and excitement.
Head coach Tim Beerman emphasized the importance of using this event as an elixir for the remainder of the season. The AquaBombers took full advantage of the situation in capturing all eleven firsts in out distancing Moeller 212 – 73.
Seniors Justin Grender and Nicholas Perera led the way with dual individual wins; Grender in 200 Free and 100 Breast, Perera 100 Fly and 100 Back. Seniors Sam Fallon (200 IM) and Will Osterman (100 Free) were also victorious, as were sophomores Ansel Froass (50 Free) and Scott Sobolewski (500 Free). Grender’s 200 Free triumph was an All-American performance – 1:38.20.
However, the relays may well have been the biggest story of the night as all three winning relays threw down All-American consideration times. It is likely these swims will have national ramifications for post season rankings.
200 Med Relay – 1:34.40 [Nathan Buse (SO), John Paul Khouzam (JR), Brian Robertson (SR), Nick Pfeifer (SR)
200 Free Relay – 1:25.89 [Robertson, Pfeifer, Owen Taylor (FR), Fallon]
400 Free Relay [Ian Van Gorp (SO), Pfeifer, Khouzam, Fallon]
96% of the athletes were part of the 70% best time onslaught. The meet was carried by St. X cable, offering another chance for the Long Blue Lane to be seen in living color.
- Inside the Numbers –
- 6 of 11 events faster than last year
- 45 swims would have qualified for Districts last year
- 12 swims would have qualified for State last year
- 7 “All Time 50” performances
- 25 Seniors were joined by 2 Juniors, 6 Sophomores, 1 Freshman
- Nicholas Perera Top 50 All Time in all eleven events
- Coaches’ Comments -
“Senior night has special significance to many. The performances in the pool and in the stands paid proper tribute to what the guys bring to the program. We have enjoyed coaching them and look forward to the next four weeks,” offered head coach Tim Beerman.
Coach Don DiGiacomo played a dual role as father and coach to his senior son, Luke. “As a parent, my wife and I are extremely proud. As a coach, tonight was very gratifying,” exclaimed and emotional Coach “D”.
“On a night like tonight, so many elements have to be in place for the results to be up to our expectations. Coaches Beerman, Brower and Albert all played major roles in a well orchestrated event. The parents, officials, athletes, fans and the rest of the staff made for a Senior Night that really put the “X” in elixir,” commented coach Tom Keefe.
JV INVITATIONAL ROCKS THE “NAT”
Nearly two decades ago, Tim Beerman, then a coach at both St. X and Ursuline, established the Junior Varsity Invitational hosted at St. Xavier High School. The event continues to grow in size, quality and enthusiasm. A “supercharged” atmosphere permeated Keating Natatorium as the 2018 edition rocked the house. Both girls’ and boys’ high schools participated with impressive results.
On the “guys” side, the AquaBombers were joined by Elder, LaSalle, Mason, Monroe, Sycamore and Talawanda. 296 swims were contested using the normal high school events format. St. X piced up seven of the eleven event wins.
Robert Prophater (SR) set the standard notching four wins [200 Med Relay, 50 Free, 200 Free Relay, 400 Free Relay]. He was joined by multiple winners:
Evan Schell (JR) [200 IM, 400 Free Relay]
Conall Kellner (FR) [200 med Relay, 100 Fly]
Cameron Eglseder (JR) [200 Med Relay, 400 Free Relay]
Ted Lockett (JR) also earned an individual win in 100 Back.
While no team score was kept, the “statistical analysis” reveals one of the season’s best days. 98% of the Long Blue Lane got in on 77% Best Times. There is no question the enthusiasm and intensity of the crowd enhanced the outcome. Those team members not in the meet were on hand to serve as timers and cheer on their “mates”.
- INSIDE THE NUMBERS –
- 50 swimmers (largest line-up of season)
- Class Rankings – 12 Seniors, 6 Juniors, 17 Sophomores, 15 Freshman
- Six events faster than last year
- Eleven swims including six relays would have qualified for last year’s District meet
- 7 Firsts
- 10 Seconds
- 7 Thirds
- 54 Top Eights
- 87 Top Sixteen
- COACHES’ COMMENTS –
“It was truly an exciting and well run meet. I am extremely grateful to the officials, parents, athletes, coaches and fans who made the JV Invitational so special. The showcase of these athletes demonstrates the quality of swimming in Southwest Ohio,” reflected head coach Tim Beerman.
“What a day. The enthusiasm in and out of the water was palpable,” noted an obviously pleased coach Don DiGiacomo.
“Coach Beerman has worked very hard to develop this event and the results validate his efforts. Coach Brower encouraged us all to be passionate about the remainder of the season and Saturday was a great blend of Coach Beerman’s vision and Coach Brower’s message,” concluded coach Tom Keefe.
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 !
The Varsity Swimming and Diving team is competing this weekend in the 2018 Southwest Ohio Classic that will include over 100 teams. The prelims are at Miami University on Saturday and Sunday morning while the finals are at Keating Natatorium on Saturday and Sunday evening. Prelims start around 9 am each morning while the finals will start at 6:30 pm both nights. Watch the action LIVE on Sunday night by clicking the link below.
North Bend Crown Stays at St. Xavier
Friendly and competitive rivalries can be hard to find. But when the annual “battle for North Bend Road” takes place it is done so with spirit, class and quality performances. St. Xavier prevailed 194-92 and picked up wins in eight of eleven events.
Evan Schell (JR) led the way with two individual wins (200 Free, 100 Back, 400 Free Relay). Other multiple winners were Carter Dwyer (SR) (200 Medley Relay, 200 Free Relay), Luke DiGiacomo (SR) (200 Medley Relay, 100 Breast), William Lopez (SR) (200 Medley Relay, 200 Free Relay), Cooper Williams (FR) (200 Free Relay, 400 Free Relay) and Teddy Bayer (SR) (100 Free, 200 Free Relay, 400 Free Relay).
Jeff Osterman (SO) swam his way to a win in the 200 IM where the AquaBomber went 1-4. He was joined by Williams, DiGiacomo and Drew Mussman (FR). It was a very balanced attack by the Long Blue Lane as quality depth prevailed. Besides the eight wins the team picked up four seconds and nine third place finishes.
--INSIDE THE NUMBERS—
- 90% swimmers had a best time
- 57% overall best times
- 7 of 11 events faster than a year ago
- All three “A” relays posted times fast enough to qualify for 2017 District Meet
- CLASS ACT (9 Seniors – 2 Juniors – 5 Sophomores – 5 Freshman)
“Putting our guys in situations where they can successfully compete is extremely gratifying. Being back at home against LaSalle made for a great night,” remarked Coach Don DiGiacomo.
“It’s quite a special group and the smiles on the faces of our athletes means a lot,” commented Coach Kurt Brinkman.
The Twelve Days of Christmas – AquaBomber Style
Beginning with a morning practice on December 26 and concluding with the Mariemont Diving Invitational on January 6, the St. Xavier Swimming and Diving team put together one of the most ambitious and challenging schedules in program history. The twelve days included seven separate meets (six on the road) coupled with daily practices involving all groups. Despite record breaking cold weather, the squad (with a big assist from family and friends) was up to the task as they went undefeated while getting in valuable training along the way. An astonishing 700+ performances (swims and dives) were recorded. What follows is a summary of the events.
Bill Keating, Jr. Commemorative Alumni Meet
Christmas break would not be the same if the Alums were not invited home to Keating Natatorium to suit up and go head to head with former classmates, as well as the current team. The meet held December 26, has turned into a valuable opportunity for the squad to compete in shorter races under real meet conditions, including officials. 49% best times were turned in during a fast paced evening which concluded with a water polo match, food and frivolity.
This event is now named after Bill Keating, Jr., “the Keeper of the Flame” who passed away last spring. The highlight of the night was the alumni relay of James Wray (’15), Andrew Brower (’12), Luke Sobolewski (’17), Grant House (’17) who went 1:31.36 in the 200 Medley Relay to establish the fastest time ever at Keating.
“Seeing so many familiar and friendly faces certainly makes us feel good. When you factor in the wonderful hospitality provided by our parents and some fast competition, it makes for a gratifying aquatic reunion,” recounted Hall of Fame coach Jim Brower who coordinated the entries for the event.
CINCINNATI ST. XAVIER OUT DUALS LOUISVILLE ST XAVIER
Facing Louisville St. Xavier at Ralph Wright Natatorium on the campus of the University of Louisville is no easy task. The Tigers had not lost a home meet in seven years. Clearly the Long Blue Lane was facing a huge challenge against one of the nation’s deepest and most talented squads. The “Green and Gold” who held 53 Kentucky State championships (29 consecutive) had not been defeated at home in 50+ meets.
“Smack dab” in the middle of Christmas training, the AquaBombers boarded a bus on Saturday morning December 30 following practice and headed for the “Border Battle” of the St. X’s. It was a trip worth taking in many ways. Cincy St. X triumphed 216-99 in one of the programs best dual meet performances. The Blue and White picked up wins in each event (Varsity & JV) along the way. All-American consideration swims were not uncommon and the quality of the entire meet could be seen in the final event as six relays went under the 3:20 mark.
Leading the visitors were the following multiple winners:
- Sam Fallon (SR) 200 Free, 500 Free
- Ansel Froass (SO) 200 Free Relay, 400 Free Relay
- Justin Grender (SR) 200 Med Relay, 50 Free, 100 Back, 400 Free Relay
- Jean-Pierre Khouzam (SO) 100 Fly, 400 Free Relay
- Nicholas Perera (SR) 200 IM, 100 Free, 200 Free Relay, 400 Free Relay
- Scott Sobolewski (SO) 200 Medley Relay, 100 Breast
- Alex Wade (SR) 200 Medley Relay, 200 Free Relay
- INSIDE THE NUMBERS –
- 50% Best Times
- 7 of 11 events faster than a year ago
- All 44 Varsity swims would have qualified for districts last year
- 27 Junior Varsity swims would have qualified for districts last year
- 24 swims would have qualified for state last year
- All American Consideration swims:
- 200 Med Relay 1:34.51 [Grender, Sobolewski, Nathan Buse (SO), Wade]
- 200 IM 1:50.86 Perera
- 100 Back 50.29 Grender
- 400 Free Relay 3:07.40 [Froass, Khouzam, Perera, Grender]
- 17 top 50 Swims
- Back to back wins for Cincinnati St. Xavier
- Coaches Comments –
“I was pleased at how well we swam in every event – great team effort. We have to keep building on successes like this,” analyzed head coach Tim Beerman.
“Louisville St. X is a national power. We are pleased to effectively challenge them while still training at an extremely high level,” commented coach Jim Brower.
PCY BIG TEN MEET A BIG SUCCESS
Wednesday, December 27, found the Long Blue Lane right back in action in a long course meet hosted by Wyoming High School and held at Powell Crosley Y. Swimming in an Olympic configured facility for the first time for many provided a new twist to swimming for those not familiar with “50 long course meters”. However, racing is racing and that is just what the team did with significant success. Challenged by Moeller and Wyoming, the Blue and White took six first places of the eleven events.
The final two events were dramatic as Kent Perry (SR) got a touch out win in the 100 Breast and Robert Prophater (SR) anchored the 400 Free Relay, coming from behind to secure the event for St. X. final Scores
St. Xavier 1,000
Prophater who also won the 200 Free was joined on relay by Cameron Eglseder (SR), Lucas Ecker (SO), Drew Morstadt (SR). Other winners were Scott Holcomb (SR) 100 Fly, Owen Taylor (FR) 100 Free and Jamie Donovan (SO) 400 Free.
- INSIDE THE NUMBERS –
- All Varsity swims finished in Top 8
- Donovan, Connall Kellner (FR), Adam Lamping (FR), Cooper Williams (FR) went 1 – 4 in 400 Free
“We came to compete and we were pleased to see quality efforts from start to finish,” summarized coach Don DiGiacomo who led the contingent.
Class Breakdown – Seniors (11), Juniors (5), Sophmores (6), Freshmen (8)
TRADITION CONTINUES WITH TURPIN
Christmas break would not be the same without a cross town trip to Lyons YMCA to compete again Turpin. This nearly decade old meet offers the opportunity for some of St. X’s younger athletes to get quality swims while gauging their progress. 77% best times clearly showed the dramatic improvement these young men are making in less than eight weeks.
Sophomore Keegan Graham was very impressive in his 100 Fly performance. Equally impressive were the 500 “guys” (three of the four swimming it for the first time) showed remarkable endurance and pacing. While no team score is kept the swims and results certainly validated solid efforts.
“This is such a signfiant meet for us and we took advantage of each race to complete and learn. It is remarkable how far we have come. Certainly much more is needed in many respects, but a solid foundation is emerging,” summarized coach Zach Vogelpohl.
St. X Swims Past Wyoming
The quality of Wyoming High School swimming is surpassed only by their hospitality. Well run and spirited competitions have quickly emerged in recent years. It has made for great opportunities for St. X to swim a variety of athletes in a variety of events. On January 2, the AquaBombers headed back to Powell County Y to face Wyoming in a traditional dual meet format. The Blue and White prevailed 200 to Wyoming’s 71.
Will Osterman (SR) paced the AquaBombers with wins in the 200 Free, 100 Free and 400 Free Relay. He was joined by individual event winners Christian Wall (JR) [200 IM and 400 Free Relay], Jaimie Donovan (SO) [50 Free], Jay Weil (SO) [100 Fly and 200 Free Relay], Daniel Stroh (SR) [500 Free and 400 Free Relay] and Connall Kellner (FR) [100 Breast].
After losing a closely contested 200 Medley Relay, the Long Blue Lane went 1 – 4 in the 200 Free [Osterman, Stroh, Owen Taylor (FR), Weil] to establish the lead. St. X would go on to win eight of the final nine events. The spirit was extremely high as those finishing up practiced headed to PCY to be a part of the action.
- INSIDE THE NUMBERS -
- Meet featured 138 swims by St. X (second largest dual meet on schedule)
- 42 AquaBombers (11 Seniors – 5 Juniors – 13 Sophomores – 13 Freshmen)
- 14 Swims would have qualified for Districts last season (all three “A” relays)
- 31 athletes had best times
- COACHES COMMENTS –
“Mike Leonard and the folks at Wyoming and PCY go out of their way to provide a first class atmosphere. We took advantage of the environment and had a solid day,” offered coach Tom Keefe.
“Sometimes speed is hard to come by at this time of the season, but we sure can race when we are on the blocks,” observed coach Dave Albert.
“We had an energetic group representing us today and that always makes for a good meet. St. X dual meets are never dull, that’s for sure,” summarized coach Don DiGiacomo.
POOL RECORDS FALL AS AQUABOMBERS FINISH 1ST AT LARRY LYONS
The annual Larry Lyons Invitational hosted by Sycamore High School offered the final opportunity for St. X swimmers to compete during the Christmas break. As the team swam down and prepared for a day off and return to normal schedule, the scores were announced with the Blue and White finishing on top:
St. Xavier 430
Headlining the triumph were two pool setting relays.
200 Free Relay 1:27.82 [Brian Robertson (SR), Nick Pfeifer (SR), Ansel Froass (SO), Sam Fallon (SR)]
400 Free Relay 3:12.01 [Froass, Pfeifer, Fallon, Nick Czepukaitis (SR)]
Froass was a three time winner claiming the 200 Free as well as the 2 relays. He was runner-up in the 100 Free.
Czepukaitis earned a win in the 500 Free along with the 400 Free Relay victory. He picked up two runner-up performances as well.
Robertson was the other top finisher with and impressive win in the 100 Fly.
Josh Knapke (SR), along with fellow divers Will Behiner (FR) and Adam Blome (FR), got the squad off to a fast start with season best performances.
- Inside the Numbers –
- Ten of eleven events were faster than last year
- 3 pool records set
- Team comprised of 10 seniors, 6 sophomores, 2 freshmen
- Four events with 3 top six finishes (200 Free, 200 IM, 100 Free and 100 Breast)
- All six relay swims posted times fast enough to qualify for Districts last year. The “A” Free Relays would have qualified for state.
- Coaches Comments –
“We raced well especially considering where we are in our training cycle. In addition, so many teammates came to cheer following a 5:00 a.m. practice,“ concluded head coach Tim Beerman.
MARIEMONT DIVING INVITE CAPS CHRISTMAS BREAK
Diving coach Brandon Unthank took five divers to the Mariemont High School Invitational to close the twelve days of Christmas. The five were indeed a handful as all scored in this six dive competition. Ben Cutforth (SO) finished second (211.15 points), Jacob Rodriguez (JR) 7th (159.00 points), Andrew Neyer (JR) 10th (138.35), Trey Hendon (SO) 11th (132.10 points) and Joey Greve (SO) 13th (122.35 points).
It was quite a performance as the event featured 42 divers from Southwest Ohio. Other schools included Walnut Hills, Wyoming, Indian Hill and Mariemont. State Champion Noah Vigran of Indian Hill, who is headed to Stanford finished first. All five of the AquaBombers’ scores were season bests.
“It was a full day and night of diving, but the guys did a great job,” reported coach Brandon Unthank.
On the Road Again – AquaBomber Style
Over 700 miles covered, 250 events completed and a whole lot of positive results is a good summary for the past weekend for St. Xavier Swimming & Diving. When St. X hits the road, they do it in a big way. The squad headed to Columbus for the Ned Reeb Memorial Invitational, to Canton for the Canton City Schools Christmas Invitational and to Louisville for the Brother Fabius Invitational. When over 90 athletes are competing over a 24 hour period in three separate and highly charged venues, there is much to review and analyze.
Ned Reeb Memorial Invitational
Contested at Ohio State’s McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion, the site of the 2018 Women’s NCAA Championship, the event featured 31 teams from around the State. McCorkle is a fast “tank” and the AquaBombers took full advantage to retain the title scoring 610 points to out distance Toledo St. Francis (207) and Dublin Jerome (203.5) .
The Blue & White won five events and were runner-ups in three more. Leading the way was the 200 Free Relay which established a new meet record while posting an All-American time of 1:22.70. The relay comprised of Ansel Froass(SO), Nicholas Perea (SR), Alex Wade (SR) and Justin Grender (SR) posted the 5th fastest time in Ohio high school history. Other winners included:
- 200 Medley Relay [Nathan Buse (SO), Scott Sobolewski (SO), Jean-Pierre Khouzam (SO), Alex Wade (SR)] 1:35.35
- 200 Free Nicholas Perera 1:38.66 All American Consideration
- 200 IM Justin Grender 1:50.52 All American Consideration
- 100 Back Justin Grender 49.65 All American Automatic
- 100 Free Ansel Froass 46.71
- 500 Free Sam Fallon (SR) 4:41.26
- 100 Breast Scott Sobolewski 58.10
All 21 athletes contributed with scoring performances. Divers Josh Knapke (SR) and Jacob Rodriguez (JR) got in on the action with 9th and 19th place finishes.
-Inside the Numbers-
- 5 events faster than last year
- All St. X swims would have qualified for 2017 District meet
- 11 St. X TOP 50 performances
- 80% Best times in Prelims – 42% Best times in Finals
“It is a great pool and we were pleased by our performances. Having everyone crash the scoring column validates our commitment to a team approach,” noted head coach Tim Beerman.
“The Reeb give us an early look at how we stack up at the state level. Certainly we have much more to accomplish, but we have a solid foundation upon which to build,” noted coach Eric Breissinger.
Canton City Schools Christmas Invitational
When coach Jim Brower returns to his hometown of Canton, Ohio he usually is joined by family, friends and fast swimming. This year was no different, as the Long Blue Lane, represented by 25 swimmers was ready to race. Twenty six schools participated in this traditional holiday event. While no team score was recorded, the AquaBombers chalked up some impressive performances. A whopping 45 swims made it back for finals in this prelim/final format.
Leading the way with four championship heat finishes were :
- Scott Holcomb (SR) [200 Free, 100 Fly, 200 Free Relay, 400 Free Relay]
- John Paul Khouzam (JR) [200 Medley Relay, 200 IM, 200 Free Relay, 100 Breast]
- Owen Taylor (FR) [50 Free, 100 Free, 200 Free Relay, 400 Free Relay].
They were joined by Kyle Seilkop who garnered two championship heat spots.
The relays were all solid with top 5 results, highlighted by a runner-up position in the 400 Free Relay.
-Inside the Numbers-
- 93% Best Times in Prelims – 37% Best Times in Finals
- 35 swims would have qualified for Districts last year
- Balanced Team Roster - 8 Freshmen/ 6 Sophomores / 5 Juniors / 6 Seniors
“Obviously Canton is a special place for me. This trip with these guys made it a bit more special,” reflected coach Jim Brower.
“There is a learning curve when you are on the road and we continue to make positive adjustment,” said coach Dave Albert.
Brother Fabius Invitational
The final leg of St. Xavier Swimming & Diving’s weekend triple header took place at the Ralph Wright Natatorium on the campus of the University of Louisville. Hosted by Louisville St. X, the “Bro Fab” has become a regular stop for one of the biggest meets for the Long Blue Lane. This year 39 AquaBombers were part of the field that featured 10 schools. The U of L pool is a great facility, offering opportunities to showcase weeks of hard work. The time final format included the normal events plus additional sprint races and unlimited relays.
“Best times” were the order of the day as 77% of all efforts fit that category. Evan Schell (JR) threw down 3 lifetime bests in winning the 200 Free, while placing second in the 100 IM and 200 Free Relay. He was not alone in memorable performances. The following had three or four top 8 finishes:
- TJ Ahrens (SR) 100 Free, 50 Breast, 200 Free Relay
- Teddy Bayer (SR) 200 Medley Relay, 100 Free, 50 Breast, 200 Free Relay
- Luke DiGiacomo (SR) 200 Medley Relay, 50 Fly, 100 Breast
- Kevin Heller (SR) 200 Medley Relay, 50 Back, 200 Free Relay
- Teddy Lockett (JR) 200 Medley Relay, 200 IM, 500 Free, 200 Free Relay
- William Lopez (SR) 200 Medley Relay, 100 Free, 100 Fly, 200 Free Relay
- Luke Prather (SR) 200 Medley Relay, 50 Free, 200 Free Relay
- Declan Skinner (SO) 200 Medley Relay, 50 Fly, 200 Free Relay
-Inside the Numbers-
- 163 swims – 125 Best Time!
- All 39 swimmers had at least one best time
- Class Act – 8 Seniors / 5 Juniors / 15 Sophomores / 11 Freshmen
- 22 Athletes had top 8 finishes
“This meet helps us to evaluate how far we have come, as well as analyze what we need to focus on as we move forward. It’s a great meet and we stepped up in many ways,” offered coach Don DiGiacomo who led the team in Louisville.
“It is an eye opening experience in this venue,” summarized coach Kurt Brinkman, who made his inaugural appearance at the meet.
Using the third meet format in a week, the AquaBombers split into Blue & White squads to compete against Lakota East and Lakota West. The meet featured “Championship” scoring where all swims score, including relays. The final tally reflected a quality performance by all 26 of the St. X contingent – St. X Blue 207, St. X White 132.5, Lakota East 84, Lakota West 73.5.
Nate Buse (SO) went 4 for 4 in the win column [200 Med Relay, 200 IM, 200 Free Relay, 100 Breast]. He was joined in the victory circle by multiple winners Nick Pfeifer (SR) [200 IM, 400 Free Relay], Sam Fallon (SR) [50 Free, 100 Free, 400 Free Relay] Nick Czepukaitis (SR) [200 Med Relay, 500 Free, 400 Free Relay] and Will Osterman [200 Medley Relay, 100 Back, 400 Free Relay]. But the story of the night goes much deeper as lifetime and season bests were falling like a heavy rain storm.
Coach Dave Albert set the tone for the evening in a pre-meet talk that emphasized building on the past by executing in the moment. The message was heard loud and clear from one side of the pool to the other.
-Inside The Numbers-
· Nine of the eleven events were faster than a year ago
· St. X won 10 of 11 events
· 89% Best Times
· 20 of the AquaBombers’ swims would have qualified for 2017 District Meet
· St. X went 1 – 2 – 3 in seven events
“We continue to improve and we look forward to taking the show on the road next weekend,” said head coach Tim Beerman.
“What we do in practice, especially the small details is coming to fruition,” noted coach Jim Brower.
The AquaBombers will divide and conquer and head out December 16 for meets in Canton, Columbus and Louisville. The Divers are in action this week with results excitedly awaited. This year’s diving team has 8 members, the largest in decades! It is a talented and dedicated group under new head diving coach Brandon Unthank.
In what has become one of the largest early season meets in the area, the AquaBombers stepped up big time. The Mason Invitational featured 27 schools and over 300 student athletes on Saturday in a prelim/final format. After a grueling 12+ hour day, the men of St. X headed home with the Championship trophy and a whole lot more.
The AquaBombers were represented by an extremely young team featuring eleven underclassmen of the 13 on the roster. But it was a case of “youth must be served“, as the team racked up 431.5 points to outpace Mason (254) and Akron Firestone (247) for the top three spots.
Performer of the Meet freshman Nathan Wall picked up 3 wins (200 Free, 500 Free, 400 Free Relay). He was joined by Scott Holcomb (SR) and Cameron Jones (SO) with individual wins. Holcomb’s win came with a record breaking performance in the 100 Free (48.40) and Jones was on top in the 100 Breast. Nathan Wall was joined on the relay by Kellen Roddy (SO), Owen Taylor (FR) and Jamie Donovan (SO) in establishing a new record in the final event of the day (3:23.21). The highest quality depth was exemplified by five runners up finishes.
200 Medley Relay 1:42.29 [Christian Wall (JR), Jones, Holcomb, S., Taylor]
100 IM 56.20 Jones
50 FREE 22.38 Holcomb, S.
100 FLY 56.05 Roddy
200 FREE RELAY 1:32.52 [Wall, C., Jones, Lucas Ecker (SO), Holcomb, S.]
-INSIDE THE NUMBERS –
- Ten of the eleven events were faster than a year ago
- Six meet records were shattered
- Every St. X swim scored with 22 of 27 in the Championship Heat
- 17 of the AquaBombers’ swims would have qualified for 2017 District Meet
- 90% best times in prelims with an additional 40% best times in final
-COMMENTS FROM THE COACHES-
“We battled from start to finish in one of the schedules most challenging formats,” said head coach Tim Beerman.
“The guys really stayed focused throughout and that is no easy task. We continue to race and learn,” added coach Dave Albert.
“We have been coming to this event since 2004 and it is getting dramatically faster. Great to see our guys leading the way”, summarized coach Tom Keefe.
The team is back in action against Lakota East and Lakota West on Wednesday at Keating Natatorium.
AQUABOMBERS RACE TO OPENING NIGHT WIN
Kicking off the swimming and diving season with the friendly rivals from Elder has become a tradition. The enthusiasm is palpable, the racing intense and the results impressive. Thursday night at Keating Natorium, The AquaBombers defeated the Panthers 178 – 105.
St. X captured 9 of the 11 events, led by Robert Prophater (SR), Evan Schell (JR), and Drew Morstadt (SR). Each picked up two individual wins as well as getting in on the action with two relay victories as well.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- 93% BEST TIMES
- 10 of 11 event winners faster than last year’s
ST X vs Elder
- 9 swims would be qualified for District meet last year
- Click Here for Complete Results
“Great night of racing from beginning to end,” head coach Tim Beerman.
“The rookies have improved so much. I cannot believe they are the same guys,” coach Jim Brower.
“We made great strides tonight. Certainly a long way to go, but a great start,” coach Don DiGiacomo.
The team is back in action at the Mason Invitational Saturday, December 2.
SWIMMING WORLD CROWNS AQUABOMBERS NATIONAL CHAMPIONS
The St. Xavier Swimming & Diving team was christened National Champions by Swimming World magazine for the 2016-17 season. The top swimming publication for half a century, annually ranks the fastest performances in high school swimming using a top 16 scoring system for the eleven scholastic events.
St. X finished with 140 points to narrowly out distance Indiana champs, Carmel H.S. who garnered 131.5. Earlier in the summer, the AquaBombers earned the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association (NISCA) DUAL MEET POWER POINT National title. It is the program’s fourth Swimming World victory (2017, 2001, 1992, 1973) and ninth NISCA triumph (2017, 2016, 2015, 2008, 2007, 2003, 2002, 2001, 1999).
While the margin of victory on the scoreboard was 8 ½ points, the difference on the stop watch was a scant .25 of a second. The team’s line-up was designed to maximize the relay power of the squad and the athletes delivered with 100 relay points. All three relays established new Ohio and school records as well as top 5 national finishes.
200 MEDLEY RELAY Justin Grender (’18), Charles Leibson (’17), Luke Sobolewski (’17), Nicholas Perera (’18) 1:20.66 – 5th in U.S.
200 FREE RELAY Perera, Leibson, Grender, Grant House (’17) 1:21.44 - 3rd in U.S.
400 FREE RELAY House, Perera, Sobolewski, Grender 2:58.13 – 1st in U.S.
In addition, Grant House, Ohio’s most decorated swimmer of all time, picked up 31 points with his swims in the 200 Free (1:35.59 – 4th in U.S.) and 500 Free (4:19.15 – 3rd in U.S.) Rounding out the National scoring was Luke Sobolewski’s 9th place finish in 100 Back (48.23), good for 9 points.
Facing some of the best competition in the country on a regular basis, the AquaBombers were able to run the table with an undefeated season in dual, invitational, league and state events, punctuated with a record setting 38th OHSAA Div. I State Championship.
“To see our student athletes and coaches on the cover of Swimming World is a humbling and gratifying sight. It was a very special season in so many ways. Our divers, swimmers, coaches, support staff, families, alums, administration, friends and fans, as well as our remarkable competition are to be congratulated,” summarized head coach Tim Beerman.
ST. XAVIER AQUABOMBERS FINISH ON TOP OF NISCA NATIONAL RANKINGS
With a record performance at the Ohio State Championships, the St. Xavier Swimming & Diving team waited to see how their performance would stack up against the nation’s finest. St. X, tallied 438 points to establish a new Ohio record for all classifications – both men and women. It was worth the wait as the team racked up a NISCA (National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association) men’s record of 6525 points to post the most of any team in the US – men or women. It makes a NISCA 3-peat for the program and the 9th NISCA title in history (1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2015, 2016, 2017).
St. X was followed by Southlake Carroll (TX) 6327 and North Allegheny (PA) 6081. Over 200 teams from around the country were part of the NISCA rankings.
All American NISCA standards were achieved by seven swimmers covering every event. Grant House wraps up his career as a 23 time All American.
JUSTIN GRENDER (JR) 200 MEDLEY RELAY, 200 FREE, 50 FREE, 100 FREE, 200 FREE RELAY, 100 BACK, 400 FREE RELAY
GRANT HOUSE (SR) 200 FREE, 200 IM, 100 FLY, 100 FREE, 500 FREE, 200 FREE RELAY, 100 BREAST, 400 FREE RELAY
CHRISTIAN IMBUS (SR) 500 FREE
CHARLES LEIBSON (SR) 200 MEDLEY RELAY, 200 IM, 200 FREE RELAY
NICHOLAS PERERA (JR) 200 MEDLEY RELAY, 200 IM, 500 FREE, 200 FREE RELAY, 400 FREE RELAY
LUKE SOBOLEWSKI (SR) 200 MEDLEY RELAY, 100 FLY, 100 BACK, 400 FREE RELAY
GORDON WHEELER (SR) 200 FREE
In addition, eleven AquaBombers earned Academic All-American recognition from NISCA:
SEAN BRANDABUR CHARLES LEIBSON
DILLON FROASS WILL SCHWIETERMAN
DREW GRISEMER LUKE SOBOLEWSKI
GRANT HOUSE LUKE VAN GORP
CHRISTIAN IMBUS JARED WATSON
Commenting on this season, head Coach Tim Beerman said, “We are very fortunate to have a group of individuals who have built up this program throughout the years. These guys are now a part of that. They leave with the relationships that they have been a part of the last four years. It has been quite a journey”.
The final piece of the National Championship picture will be clarified in September, when Swimming World Magazine unveils their US rankings. St. X figures to be in the mix, hoping to better their 4th place finish of a year ago.
Senior Grant House won the Penn Station Athlete of the Year Award yesterday as announced by Fox19 on Monday night. Penn Station received nominations from across the tri-state area each month and announced a monthly winner during the school year. Other sponsors of the campaign include Kiss107, ESPN1530, Fox19 and 700WLW. House was named the Athlete of Month in December and therefore was a finalist for Athlete of the Year.
Fox19's Joe Danneman made the announcement that House won the award out of a field of 7 other student athletes from around the tri-state area. House competed as a swimmer at St. Xavier HS and was a part of the record breaking 2016-2017 Division I State Championship team. He also became the most decorated swimmer in OHSAA history by winning 13 Individual State Championships over four years. He set 4 state records at the state meet on February 25, 2017 in the events of 200 yard freestyle, 500 yard freestyle, 200 yard freestyle relay and 400 yard freestyle relay.
Grant will attend Arizona State University next year and will swim for the Sun Devils. He plans to major in Exercise and Wellness and Entrepreneurship.
District Championship Leads to Canton in “Record” Numbers
“Records are meant to be broken, tradition is meant to be kept,” said assistant and hall of fame coach Jim Brower. For the St. Xavier Swimming & Diving team that is precisely what occurred Saturday at the Ohio Southwest District meet held at Miami University. The AquaBombers amassed a record 603.5 points. Moeller was second with 208.5 and Mason third with 175. Points added up quickly as the team won 9 of the 11 events, while posting meet records in six of them.
St. X qualified 35 swims to District (most possible) and scored in all 35. 31 of that number were top eight. As importantly, 31 swims and diver Josh Knapke’s performance qualified for state in Canton late this week. It was the 49th consecutive District crown for the Blue and White, long considered one of the fastest districts in the US. This year 40% of all swims headed to Canton will come from the SW District.
Bill Keating, Jr. addressed the team prior to the meet and set the tone by encouraging each athlete to keep the wave of tradition going. The response was remarkable.
Event winners started early and finished strong.
200 Medley Relay 1:31.12* (Meet Record) [Justin Grender (JR), Charles Leibson (SR), Luke Sobolewski (SR), Nick Perera (JR)]
200 Free 1:35.79* (Meet & Pool Record) Grant House (SR)
200 IM 1:50.50# Charles Leibson (SR)
100 Fly 48.67* Luke Sobolewski (SR)
100 Free 45.16# Justin Grender (JR)
500 Free 4:21.19* (Meet & Pool Record) Grant House (SR)
200 Free Relay 1:22.80* (Meet Record) [Grender, Perera, Leibson, House]
100 Back 48.51* (Meet Record) Luke Sobolewski (SR)
400 Free Relay 3:01.68* (Meet Record) [Perera, Sobolewski, House, Grender]
*Automatic All American #Consideration All American
Additional All American Consideration swims were turned in by:
Gordon Wheeler (SR) 1:39.03 – 200 Free
Justin Grender (JR) 20.71 – 50 Free
Charles Leibson (SR) 45.84 – 100 Free
Christian Imbus (SR) 4:33.30 – 500 Free
INSIDE THE NUMBERS REFLECTED 39 TOP 50 ST. X SWIMS AND 84% BEST TIME.
The squad earning the trip to Canton to defend the State title:
Sean Brandabur (SR) Josh Knapke (JR)
Peter Breissinger (SR) Jean-Pierre Khouzam (FR)
Blake Brockman (SR) Charles Leibson (SR)
Andrew Devine (SO) Nicholas Perera (JR)
Sam Fallon (JR) Luke Sobolewski (SR)
Ansel Froass (FR) Luke Van Gorp (SR)
Dillon Froass (SR) Alex Wade (JR)
Justin Grender (JR) Jared Watson (SR)
Grant House (SR) Gordon Wheeler (SR)
Christian Imbus (SR)
“We were very please at how the athletes raced on Saturday. We want to keep the wave moving as we compete in Canton,” summarized head coach Tim Beerman. Coach Beerman was named District Coach of the Year by a vote of his colleagues for the second consecutive year.
JOSH KNAPKE PUNCHES FIRST AQUABOMBERS TICKET TO CANTON
Josh Knapke (JR), the GCL Champ threw down a personal best at the Southwest District Meet to earn 3rd place and a ticket to Canton for the State Championships. It will be Knapke’s first appearance at “the show” having had to sit out last season with shoulder surgery. But watching him compete you would never suspect he had a year off. Consistent and resolute throughout the evening he amassed 398.45 points. Teammate Jacob Rodriguez (SO) also scored in 14th place. Andrew Neyer (SO) got his first taste of District competition and finished 22nd.
Unfortunately, senior captain Jake Knapke was not able to dive due to illness. “There is no doubt that Jake Knapke inspired us all throughout the season and that included tonight. We are very fortunate to have such athletes in our program,” reflected diving coach Lori Rapp.
AquaBombers Capture 47th Consecutive Sectional Title – Move on to Districts
Since the inception of the Sectionals for Ohio Swimming, the St. Xavier squad has won the Cincinnati division of the four site competition. This year was no different with as the AquaBombers amassed 714.5 points to runner-up Walnut Hills’ 245. The field included thirteen teams. Hosted at Keating Natatorium, the team took advantage of home water advantage and won every event. As importantly, every performance (swimming and diving) qualified for Districts slated at Miami this week.
Led by multiple winners, Grant House (SR) – 4, Nick Perera (JR) – 4, Justin Grender (JR) – 4, Luke Sobolewski (SR) – 3, and Charles Leibson (SR) -2, the Aquabombers placed every swim in the top 6 and went 1 – 2 in seven of the eight events contested Friday night.
“Our objective was to race hard and advance to Districts, and that is precisely what we did,” summarized head coach, Tim Beerman.
ST. X DIVERS DELIVER
The OHSAA Division I Diving Sectional Championship was conducted at Miami University on Tuesday, February 7, and the AquaBombers’ divers rose to new heights. Josh Knapke (JR) took first followed by runner-up Jake Knapke (SR), Jacob Rodriguez (SO) in 4th and Andrew Neyer (SO) in 8th. By virtue of these performances all four move on to the OHSAA District Meet which will be held on Tuesday, February 14 at Miami University. The achievement has only been replicated once in the last 20+ years. Below are results of the four St. Xavier divers.
Josh Knapke 380.50 1st
Jake Knapke 338.55 2nd
Jacob Rodriguez 313.90 4th
Andrew Neyer 223.40 8th
All four were personal bests. “We continue to develop as a program and we are excited to have all four divers moving on to Districts,” said diving coach Lori Rapp.
GCL CROWN STAYS AT ST. XAVIER
A balanced and dynamic line up resulted in a tremendous GCL Championship performance by the AquaBombers. For the first time in at least 20 years, the squad won all twelve events. In six of the nine individual events the AquaBombers went 1 – 2 - 3 – 4. The final score reflected the quality of swims as St. X tallied 501 to runner-up Moeller’s 301.
Nick Czepukaitis was named Swimmer of the Meet as he picked up four wins (200 Free, 100 Free, 200 Free Relay and 400 Free Relay). However, he certainly was not alone in the spotlight as every swim scored top 8 with an 89% Best Times calculation. Winners were:
200 Medley Relay 1:37.09 [Jonathan Bernard (S0), Will Spaeth (SR), Patrick Hudak (SR), Oscar Van Nort (JR)]
200 Free 1:43.16 – Czepukaitis
200 IM 1:56.60 Bernard
50 Free 22.16 - John Paul Khouzam (SO)
100 Fly 53.64 – Nathan Buse (FR)
100 Free 47.91 – Czepukaitis
500 Free 4:39.51 – Will Osterman (JR)
200 Free Relay 1:28.06 [Czepukaitis, Khouzam, Spaeth, Van Nort]
100 Back 54.83 – Erich Guenther (JR)
100 Breast 58.77 – Scott Sobolewski (FR)
400 Free Relay 3:13.59 [Will Schwieterman (SR), Khouzam, Osterman, Czepukaitis]
1 Meter Diving 247.05 – Josh Knapke (JR)
Going inside the numbers reflects the high level of the efforts. Ten swims, involving ten different athletes, would have qualified for state a year ago and seven would have scored. Of the 24 athletes representing the Blue and White, 5 were Seniors, 8 Juniors, 7 Sophomores and 4 Freshmen. As reflected in the results, champions come from every class!
A very pleased head coach Tim Beerman reflected, “We showed quality, depth, balance and determination. It was a great way to start the Championship season.”
Divers Spring AquaBombers into GCL Lead
A year ago, Josh Knapke (JR) was watching his teammates from the deck as he recovered from shoulder surgery. This season he has emerged on the diving board and claimed first place in the GCL Championship Monday night at the University of Cincinnati. His score of 247.05 was a personal best in closely contested competition. Moeller’s Gavin Osterday was second with 237.75. However, Jake Knapke (SR), Jacob Rodriguez (SO), and Andrew Neyer (SO) placed 4th , 5th and 6th, respectively, to earn valuable points in the event. Rodriguez’s 196.30 was a personal best as well. St. Xavier swimmers go into action Wednesday, February 1 at Keating Natatorium in hopes of earning the school's 58th straight GCL crown.
AquaBombers Enjoy “Senior Moments”
Keating Natatorium was packed as the St. Xavier aquatic family and friends honored twenty seniors Thursday evening. And there was plenty of love, appreciation, and spirit to produce an extremely festive mood for the occasion. Seniors Sean Brandabur, Peter Breissinger, Blake Brockman, Dillon Froass, Drew Grisemer, Grant House, Patrick Hudak, Christian Imbus, Jimmy Kelley, Jake Knapke, Nate Lawley, Charles Leibson, Nick Merz, Will Schwieterman, Luke Sobolewski, Will Spaeth, Matthew Stroh, Luke Van Gorp, Jared Watson and Gordon Wheeler did their part to reciprocate.
Seniors from Moeller, St. Ursula and Ursuline were also honored with the ment of Moeller providing the competition for St. X. The AquaBombers swam to first in all eleven events, while delivering some impressive swims. The final tally was 210 to 76.
Gordon Wheeler factored in three wins. Grant House, Luke Sobolewski, Luke Van Gorp joined by juniors Nick Perera and Alex Wade picked up dual victories. Top finishers also featured Peter Bressinger, Dillon Froass, Justin Grender (JR), Christian Imbus, Charles Leibson, Sean Brandabur, Jared Watson and Sam Fallon (JR). But throughout the line-up, fast performances could be found as nearly two thirds were best times. Twelve top 50 times were achieved highlighted by a new school record in the 100 Breast authored by Grant House (55.56). The previous record was held by Andrew Brower (56.29). Sobolewski’s performances placed him in the Top 50 in all eleven events, a mark currently held by only himself and Grant House.
FURTHER ANALYSIS REVEALS:
200 MEDLEY RELAY 1:34.96 ALL-AMERICAN CONSIDERATION
[Breissinger, Froass, Wheeler, Wade]
200 IM 1:51.82 GRENDER ALL-AMERICAN CONSIDERATION
200 FREE RELAY 1:26.07 ALL-AMERICAN CONSIDERATION
[Wheeler, Van Gorp, Wade, Brandabur]
100 BREAST 55.56 HOUSE AUTOMATIC ALL-AMERICAN
400 FREE RELAY 3:08.59 ALL AMERICAN CONSIDERATION
[Van Gorp, Watson, Fallon, Wheeler]
The squad now has 20 athletes under 5:00 minutes in the 500 Free.
“It was an important night for our Seniors and their families. We took another step in a positive direction,” added head coach Tim Beerman.
The GCL Championship begins Monday with diving at UC, followed by the swimming portion at Keating Natatorium Wednesday, February 1.