By Dick Zunt
Cleveland Plain Dealer
CANTON, OHIO. Feb. 5. WHILE Cincinnati St. Xavier was churning to a record 23rd Ohio boys' state swimming and diving championship yesterday, the rest of Ohio was swimming for second place.
St. Xavier, spear-headed by two state record swims by senior star Jayme Cramer, amassed 333 points. The runner-up was Centerville, with Firestone finishing third for the second straight year. Centerville scored 171½ points and Firestone finished with 144.
Behind first-place finishes by senior Paul Kirk in the 500-yard freestyle yesterday and by senior Brian DeMell in the 200 individual medley Friday, Hawken finished sixth with 122 points. St. Ignatius, second last year, finished eighth with 107 points.
Kirk, second in the state in the 500 freestyle last year, won the long-distance event in 4:31.11. "That's my second-fastest time at state and my third-fastest ever," Kirk said. "It's great, and I'm very happy to have finally gotten it.
"I'm very relieved that I won. I was much more nervous before the race this year than last year. Last year, I was a junior. But this year, I'm a senior and there was definitely more pressure on me because I would not have another chance if I had not won it tonight.
"This has been a good race since I started high school swimming. Kids who finished ahead of me in the past three years graduated. I looked at the race with a more realistic approach this year."
DeMell, who won the 200 individual medley Friday, came within 2/100ths of a second of another first place in the 100 breaststroke yesterday. DeMell clocked 57.56, right behind winner Rob Kauscher of Cincinnati Anderson, who had 57.54 in the closest race of the day.
Firestone's Michael Jones, a junior, finished third in the 100 backstroke as St. Xavier's Cramer set a state meet and pool record of 47.65 in winning the event. The time makes him the second fastest high school dorsal swimmer ever, trailing only Alex Lim's phenomenal 46.82 last season.
Jones was timed in 50.68, and St. Ignatius senior Dean Wolf swam 51.34.
"It was a great feeling to be part of this race," Jones said. "[Cramer] is a great swimmer.
"Our team goal coming in was a top five finish, and we did that. All of us are happy the way we scored."
Jones also was fourth in the 50 freestyle and swam on the third-place 200 freestyle relay and the second-place medley relay. St. Ignatius' Wolf scored in the 100 backstroke for the third straight year. He was 10th as a sophomore and fourth last season.
"I'm happy the way we swam," said Firestone junior Steve McDonald. "We all did our best. We finished right up there. Firestone was in second place after Friday's finals in five events.
The Falcons of coach Tim Lewarchick scored 81 points Friday to trail the St. Xavier juggernaut, which led with 139 points.
Firestone opened the meet by finishing second to St. Xavier in the 200 medley relay. The Falcons' foursome of Jones, Matt Celik, McDonald and Jon Albrecht clocked 1:33.70 to 1:32.89 for St. Xavier.
McDonald finished second in the 100 butterfly to Cramer, who won in 47.69 after setting a state meet and pool record of 47.65 in Friday's preliminaries.
The time makes him the third fastest high school flyer in history, behind Nate Dusing's national independent school record of 47.10 and Alex Lim's 47.64