By Tom Gamble, GCL South Commissioner
St. Xavier turned in a record-shattering performance last Saturday at Miami University’s Corwin M. Nixon Aquatic Center in Oxford, as the AquaBomers finished with a record 649 points as a meet maximum 39 divers and swimmers all scored for the first time in event history – extending St. Xavier’s streak of consecutive district titles to an astounding 50 years. Greater Catholic League South Division colleague Moeller finished second, with 188 points, Sycamore third with 171, Mason fourth with 161, and Centerville rounding out the top five schools, with 140.
While St. Xavier has continued its dominance in virtually every meet this season, it was an impressive performance again by Moeller as the Crusaders posted a runner-up finish out of the 27 competing schools. It was the eighth time Moeller has finished second in the district meet, and marked the seventh straight year that the Crusaders have earned a spot in the top four. Seven Moeller athletes qualified for the state meet.
The 649 points earned by St. Xavier were just 83 short of a posting a “perfect score,” as the AquaBombers swept the relays and picked up victories in six of the eight individual events. The schools make up what is typically the most dominant district in the state and one of the fastest in the country. This week, 38 percent of the competitors at the Ohio High School Athletic Association Swimming & Diving State Tournament will be from the Southwest District. The state meet is Wednesday through Saturday at the C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton. Division I preliminaries and competition begins Friday.
St. Xavier’s 200 medley relay team of Justin Grender, Alex Wade, Jean-Pierre Khouzam and Nicholas Perera established a record by finishing in 1:30.84, surpassing the mark set last year by the AquaBombers’ team. Grender also set a mark in the 50 freestyle, eclipsing the record of former St. Xavier Olympian Joe Hudepohl that had stood for 26 years. Grender added a third record in the 100 backstroke, swimming in 47.73 – eclipsing the previous time established last season by AquaBombers’ alum Luke Sobolewski.
Moeller’s individual state qualifiers are J.C. Prugh, 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke; Kevin Thibodeaux, 100 breaststroke; Austin Murphy, 100 freestyle; Justin Davidson, 50 freestyle; and Gavin Osterday, diving.
St. Xavier is attempting to extend its state championship run to 10 straight years, and also win state title No. 39 in its storied history. Last season, senior Grant House won four events to become the winningest swimmer in OHSAA history, bringing his total number of events won at state to 13 in his career (winning eight individual events and swimming as part of five relay champions). House passed Dod Wales of St. Xavier, who won 12 events from 1992 to 1995. House also set four records at last year’s meet, when he also won the 200 freestyle and was part of the winning 400 relay team for the fourth year in a row.
House is a freshman this year at Arizona State University.