High School State Championships: Kentucky

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky, Feb. 26. TWO hometown teams claimed championship titles at the Kentucky State Swimming and Diving Championships Feb. 22-23 at the University of Louisville's pool.

Sacred Heart Academy claimed its third girls title in the last four years at the Kentucky High School Swimming and Diving Championships Feb. 22-23 at the University of Louisville's pool. Last year, DuPont Manual stopped the two-year-old Sacred Heart streak by a 9-1/2 point margin of victory (351-341.5). This year, Sacred Heart put together a 441.5-point total for the championship. DuPont Manual claimed second with 284 points, followed by Notre Dame (217.5), Christian Academy of Louisville (189) and Paul Lawrence Dunbar (160).

The last time St. Xavier lost a team title was 1998. This year's squad put together 430.5 points, followed by Covington Catholic (311.5), Ballard (235.5), Trinity (190.5) and DuPont Manual (160).

The Valkyries lost no time in regaining their trophy, starting with the very first event, the 200 medley relay. Freshmen Asia Seidt, Kennedy Lohman, Brooke Bauer and sophomore Brooke Bauer, clocked a 1:43.54 for their first points. Sacred Heart went on to sweep the relays. Junior Ashley LeClair led off the 200 free relay with sophomore Leah Stevens, freshman Molly O'Hara and junior Madison Lichtefeld and finished first with a 1:35.58. The meet ended with LeClair, Seidt, Stevens and Bauer coming together for a 3:27.66 victory.

Stevens lowered the 500 free record to 4:43.68. Initially, she set the record in prelims with her 4:45.71, erasing the 4:47.56 that Sharli Brady posted last year. Stevens also conquered the 200 free in 1:48.67. Brady, a Cooper junior, finished second in the 500 free (4:51.48) and claimed the 200 IM with her 2:00.67.

Other Sacred Heart event winners included Seidt in the 100 back (54.51), Lohman in the 100 breast (1:02.17) and sophomore Erin Duffey in diving (455.65 points).

DuPont Manual senior swept the sprint freestyles. She missed a state record by 7-hundreds in the 50 free with her 23.44 and clocked 50.93 in the 100 free. Hannah Magnuson, a junior at Christian Academy of Louisville, triumphed in the 100 fly with her 55.16.

The Tigers leaped into action with a state record in the 200 medley relay. The squad of seniors Robert Leasure, Nicholas Sehlinger and Garrett Stephens, with sophomore William Harrison swimming the third leg, initially clocked 1:33.35 in prelims and finaled with 1:33.26. Both times cleared St. Xavier's 2008 mark of 1:33.67.

St. Xavier put seniors Mitchell Forde, William Cromer Ryan McMillen and Stephens together for a winning 1:24.84 in the 200 free relay. Individual titles were won by Forde in the 100 free (46.09) and Leasure in the 200 IM (1:50.46).

Covington Catholic senior Max Williamson lowered the state standard in the 200 free to 1:37.93. Tyler Reed held the prior record of 1:38.72 from 2007. Williamson also finished first in the 100 back (48.77), and anchored the Colonels' victorious 400 free relay of sophomore Robbie Newman, junior Chase Vennefron, sophomore Mike Summe to a state record 3:06.59. That took down St. Xavier's record of 3:07.99, which had stood since 1994.

Williamson lost the state record he set last year in the 500 free of 4:28.89 to Ballard senior Jake Schultz, who first lowered the mark to 4:28.33 in prelims and took it down further with his finals time of 4:23.00. Another Ballard senior, Aaron Sexton, topped the field in the 100 breast with his 57.05.

Trinity junior Thomas Cooper flew to a 50.00 to finish first in the 100 fly. Brian Habacivich, a senior at DuPont Manual, sprinted to a 20.79 in the 50 free. Dixie Heights junior Bailey Harrison was the top boys diver, scoring 488.50 points.