By Bill Tingley
LOUISVILLE, Ky., Jan. 30. THIS past Saturday, five defending state champion high school swim teams and one runner-up all met for the first time in a double dual meet in Louisville, Kentucky.
Fourteen-time and defending Kentucky Boys’ State Champion, St. Xavier of Louisville, met St. Xavier of Cincinnati, which won the Ohio High School Championship 24 times and will defend that title for the fourth straight year. Joining these state champions was 17-time Tennessee High School Champion, The McCallie School, which has defended its title for the past five years.
In the girls’ meet, Ursuline Academy of Cincinnati, which has won eight Ohio state titles and will be defending that title for the fourth year, met Tennessee champion Harpeth Hall of Nashville, which has won the state title five times and will be defending it for the third year. Sacred Heart Academy, Kentucky High School runner-up in 2002, joined the fray to tune up for a run at their 17th state title.
The boys’ meet had seven high school All-Americans and the girls’ had six.
When the water settled, the scores were:
Sacred Heart Academy 108.5
Harpeth Hall Academy 63.5
Sacred Heart Academy 100
Ursuline Academy 66
Harpeth Hall Academy 91
Ursuline Academy 78
Cincinnati St. Xavier 118.5
Louisville St. Xavier 67.5
Louisville St. Xavier 109
McCallie School 74
Cincinnati St. Xavier 128
McCallie School 55
IN the girls' meets, Sacred Heart won five events, led by junior Caroline Burckle. She won the 200 Free in 1:51.62 and the 500 Free in 4:57.15. Freshman Devon Callaghan added the 200 IM in 2:10.56 and the 100 Fly in 59.53. Junior Sarah Menefee rounded out the Sacred Heart victory by adding the 100 Back in 58.90.
Ursuline sophomore Abby Cooper won the 50 Free in 25.49 and the 100 Breast in 1:09.06. Sophomore Lisa Morin won the 100 Free in 53.47.
Harpeth Hall’s Helen Ramsey took the diving with a six dive score of 200.70.
Ursuline and Sacred Heart achieved All-American consideration times in the three relays.
Cincinnati St. Xavier won six events in the boys' competition. Peter Carothers won the 50 Free (22.07) and the 100 Fly (51.63). Kyle Ransom won the 200 Free in 1:44.86, Joe Cramer took the 500 Free in 4:44.20, Kit French won the 100 Back in 52.94, while Jared Wagster came from behind to win the 100 Breast in 1:01.49.
Louisville St. Xavier saw wins in the 200 IM by Kyle Peterson (1:58.91) and Robbie Lewis in the diving with a six dive score of 285.20.
McCallie’s senior Greg Imboden, won the 100 Free with a time of 47.65.
There were seven All-American consideration times in the three relay events. Cincinnati St. Xavier had one in each of the three relay events, while Louisville St. Xavier had two and McCallie had two.
Here are the coaches' comments after the meet:
Stan Corcoran – McCallie School, Defending Boys Tennessee Champions:
"I was very happy with the way our team swam. We had many season best times at the meet. Cameron Rice had two very solid swims in the 200 Free 1:45.15 and 100 fly 52.72. getting second in both events. Greg Imboden won the 100 free in a time of 47.72. It was unfortunate that he slipped off the block and only went 22.45 in the 50 free. We also had a strong finish in the 100 back Eric O'Loughlin went 54.14 and Patrick O'Neal went 55.34. They got 2nd and 3rd respectively.
"Our relays all were best times for this season. The 400 free relay is the fastest we have gone in season for the past 10 years. Greg Imboden anchored the relay with a 46.20. The relay went 3:14.48. The team was made up of Greg Imboden, Nick King, Cameron Rice and Eric O'Loughlin.
"The 200 free relay team also had a good swim the team of Cameron Rice, Nick King, Greg Imboden and Trip North went 1:29.09. Our 200 medley relay had a season best 1:41.41. The team was made up of Patrick O'Neal, Eric O'Loughlin, Dan Kovacs and Trip North.
"It was fun to compete in a meet with such high- caliber swimming. We enjoyed the competition and hopefully will do a little better next time. This also will work as a good motivator for our kids."
Jim Brower – St Xavier High School, Cincinnati, OH, Defending Boys Ohio Champions:
"Our kids were tired from their training. Our main focus is on the upcoming run for the Ohio state championships, but with interstate bragging rights at stake, I think our guys gave everything they had in their tanks.”
"It's tough to go on the road and swim fast when you're tired. I wasn't sure what to expect from our guys' performances, but this team likes to race especially when challenged. We were a little off of our season best times, but the competition was great, and our guys did a good job racing. Its nice to be able to find teams within a couple hours driving time who can match up with our depth of talent and tradition.
"Our team is led by our seniors, and our seniors probably had the best swims for us. Senior Kyle Ransom, a senior national qualifier, is our go-to guy. He won the 200, but got touched out in the 100 free. That doesn't happen very often. Junior Pete Carothers and Sophomore Kit French are also senior national level swimmers and they each won in their specialties.
Mike O’Toole Assistant Swim Coach St. Xavier High School, Louisville, KY. Defending Kentucky Boys Champions:
"We had some encouraging swims in that a number of kids got up and raced.
"It was great for our kids to have the opportunity to swim in a meet like this. We have always strived to be the very best we can be and to do that you have to compete against the very best. This was a tough time of the year to approach a meet of this magnitude due to training for upcoming regional and state meets but overall as a team we had some very encouraging swims in that a number of kids got up and raced. This was very evident in the relays, Medley Relay 1:39.13 and 200 Free Relay 1:29.00.
"Distance freestylers Max Vernon (sophomore) and Clark Burckle (freshman) turned in outstanding midseason swims in the 500 Free at 4:44.54 and 4:47.73 respectively. Junior Kyle Peterson got the team fired up early with a personal best time of 1:58.91 in the 200 IM. The two All-American divers Robbie Lewis (junior) and Nick Campisano (sophomore) helped close the meet with the Louisville St. X divers taking first, second, third and forth place.
Scott Miller – Sacred Heart Academy, 2002 Kentucky State Runner-up:
"I was really proud of our effort. We had a lot of girls missing because of sickness and a lot of girls who were just coming off of being sick."
"We were short-handed because of illness. I am sure that Ursuline and Harpeth Hall were also. Caroline Burckle and Devon Callaghan both won two very tough races. I think that was the difference in the meet. We also have great depth this year. Our 2nd and 3rd swimmers in each event had some outstanding swims.
"I knew going in that Ursuline and Harpeth Hall's strengths were the 200 and 500 free. Fortunately our best swimmer Caroline Burckle swims those two events. I felt the outcome of the meet would ride a lot on those two events. Our second and third swimmers in those events were out due to illness, so winning was critical. As always Caroline rose to the occasion and won both very close races. They were by far the fastest events of the meet. Devon Callaghan had been sick and was not at practice all week. She still managed to win the 200 IM and 100 Fly with very gutsy swims. Those two girls set the tone for the meet and the rest of the girls followed their lead and performed admirably."
Jenny Breissinger – Ursuline Assistant Swim Coach, Defending Ohio Girls Champions:
"The Tri-State meet of champions was not a strong focus for Ursuline in terms of our season, but the girls rose to the challenge and enjoyed competing against some teams that they usually do not swim against."
"The girls swam tired, but put forth a strong effort and some swimmers swam some in-season best times."