High School State Swimming Championships: Kentucky

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky, March 2. THE last time St. Xavier High School in Louisville lost a state championship in high school swimming was 1998. This year the Tigers put together 430.5 points to claim their 15th consecutive title. Covington Catholic finished in second (311.5), followed by Ballard (235.5), Trinity (190.5) and DuPont Manual (160).

Sacred Heart Academy, also in Louisville, earned their third straight title with 441.5 points. DuPont Manual was second (284), with Notre Dame third (217.5), Christian Academy of Louisville fourth (189) and Paul Lawrence Dunbar fifth (189).

Sacred Heart's depth was evident with their relay sweep. The Valkyrie quartet of freshmen Asia Seidt, Kennedy Lohman and Brooke Baker–with sophomore Victoria Horsman swimming third–captured the 200 medley relay (1:43.54). Junior Ashley LeClair, sophomore Leah Stevens, freshman Molly O'Hara and junior Madison Lichtefeld turned in a 1:35.58 to place first in the 200 free relay. LeClair, Seidt, Stevens and Bauer finished up the meet with a winning 3:27.66 in the 400 free relay.

Stevens lowered the 500 free state mark to 4:43.38. She first took down Sharli Brady's 4:47.56 from last year with her prelim swim of 4:45.71. Stevens also triumphed in the 200 free (1:48.68). Other Valkyries who turned in first-place swims included Seidt (100 back, 54.51), Lohman (100 breast, 1:02.17) and sophomore Erin Duffey in diving (455.65 points).

DuPont Manual senior Sarah Love finished just 7-hundredths off the state standard in the 50 free with her 23.44, and also posted a winning 50.93 in the 100 free. Sharli Brady, now a junior at Cooper, turned in a 2:00.67 in the 200 IM to capture that event. Christian Academy junior Hannah Magnuson touched first in the 100 fly (55.16).

The Tigers began the boys portion of the meet with a state record 1:33.35 in prelims, which the team of seniors Robert Leasure, Nicholas Sehlinger and Garrett Stephens, with sophomore William Harrison on the third leg lowered further in finals to 1:33.20. St. Xavier had held the record of 1:33.67 since 2008.

St. Xavier's 200 free relay with the squad of seniors Mitchell Forde, William Cromer, Ryan McMIllen and Garrett Stephens combined for a 1:24.84 win. Leasure claimed the 200 IM title in 1:50.46, and Forde touched the wall first in the 100 free (46.09).

Max Williamson, a senior at Covington Catholic, bettered Tyler Reed's 2007 state mark in the 200 free of 1:38.72 with his 1:37.93. His clocking of 48.77 in the 100 back gave him a second individual title. Williamson also anchored the Colonels' 400 free relay of sophomore Robbie Newman, junior Chase Vennefron and sophomore Mike Summer to a state record 3:06.59. St. Xavier set the previous standard of 3:07.99 in 1994.

Williamson's state record in the 500 free of 4:28.89, which he set last year, was erased by Jake Schultz, a Ballard senior, with his 4:28.33 prelim swim which he lowered to 4:23.00 in finals.

Schultz's classmate at Ballard, Aaron Sexton, finished first in the 100 breast (57.05). Trinity junior Thomas Cooper flew to a 50.00 in the 100 fly and Manual senior Brian Habacivich sprinted to a 20.79 in the 50 free. Bailey Harrison, a junior at Dixie Heights, combined for 488.50 points to take the diving event.