By Tom Gamble, GCL South Commissioner
St. Xavier, arguably the premier high school swimming program in the United States, turned in another dominating performance this week to capture the 2018 Greater Catholic League Division I Swimming & Diving Championships for its 59th consecutive – and 72nd overall – league title dating back to 1932. The Aquabombers, the defending Ohio Division I state and national champions, had four of the top five finishers in 1-meter diving held Sunday at Sycamore High School, and then finished first in each of the 11 events of the swimming portion of the meet held Wednesday at Keating Natatorium on St. Xavier High School’s campus.
Sophomore RJ Myers, who set meet records in the 200 (1:42.36) and 500 (4:36.96) freestyle events, was named the GCL South Swimmer of the Year. Myers also was a member of St. Xavier’s winning 400 freestyle relay team. Aquabombers’ coach Tim Beerman, whose team had all 35 swims at the meet finish with times that would have qualified for district last season, was named GCL South Coach of the Year. St. Xavier finished with a total of 549 points, two higher than last year’s meet, followed by Moeller with 293, Elder at 154, and La Salle with 138.
After senior Josh Knapke won the driving to begin the competition, with teammates also finishing in spots 2-5, St. Xavier jumped back in the pool three days later to win each of the eight individual swimming events and all three relays. Joining Myers on the top of the podium by winning individual events were junior Andrew Devine (50 freestyle and 100 backstroke), freshman Nathan Wall (200 individual medley), junior John Paul Khouzam (100 butterfly), senior Daniel Stroh (100 freestyle) and senior Kent Perry (100 breaststroke). Devine also was a member of the winning 200 medley relay team, while Stroh swam on two additional winning relay teams.
St. Xavier also posted wins in the three relay events: 200 medley (Devine, Perry, Khouzam and junior Aki Li); 200 freestyle (senior Robert Prophater, junior Christian Wall, Li and Stroh); and the 400 freestyle (Myers, C. Wall, sophomore Kellen Roddy and Stroh). St. Xavier claimed the top two spots in every individual event and had clean sweeps (top four finishers) in the 200 freestyle, 200 individual medley and 500 freestyle. The performances of the 24 athletes resulted in a score only 11 points away shy of “maxing” out.
The GCL South teams will now prepare to compete in the sectional meet next week, with diving scheduled for Tuesday at the Corwin M. Nixon Aquatic Center on Miami University’s campus in Oxford. The swimming portion of the sectional sites continue Friday night at St. Xavier’s Keating Natatorium and Mason High School.