Hunter Tapp, Will Cole’s State Records Highlight Kentucky Boys Championships as St. Xavier Wins 31st-Straight Title

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Photo Courtesy: KHSAA Main Twitter (@KHSAA)

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The 2019 Kentucky Boys State Swimming and Diving Championships took place on Friday, Feb. 22 at University of Louisville’s Ralph Wright Natatorium in Louisville, Ky.

A total of four Kentucky state records were broken at this meet:

  • Trinity’s Hunter Tapp – 50 free (19.93)
  • Trinity’s Hunter Tapp – 100 free (43.16)
  • St. Xavier’s Will Cole – 100 back (47.23)
  • Lexington Catholic – 4×50 free relay (1:21.96)

For the 31st-consecutive season, St. Xavier claimed the Kentucky state championship crown in dominant fashion. They won five events to finish with 482 points ahead of Lexington Catholic (249) and Highlands (194).

Click HERE for full results.

Top 5 Team Scores:

  1. St. Xavier – 482
  2. Lexington Catholic – 249
  3. Highlands – 194
  4. Trinity – 152
  5. Covington Catholic – 138

Lexington Catholic’s Matt Menke (22.34), Thomas Strother (25.61), Zach Hils (21.92) and Scott Scanlon (20.51) began the meet by winning the 4×50 medley relay in 1:30.38, inches off the state record of 1:30.17. St. Xavier was second in 1:34.00 and Bowling Green was third in 1:37.74.

Cole led the charge in the 200 free, racing to the wall in 1:36.91 as the first of only three swimmers in the field to breat the 1:40 barrier. Second place went to Lexington Catholic’s Manke in 1:38.24 and third belonged to Elizabethtown’s John Hayes in 1:39.52.

St. Xavier’s Connor Kang cruised to first in the 200 IM, stopping the clock in 1:47.00 for the state title. Hils also broke the 1:50 mark in 1:48.54 for the runner-up spot while St. Xavier’s Holden Smith secured third in 1:50.35.

Tapp lit the pool on fire in the 50 free, splashing-and-dashing his way to a win in 19.93 as the only swimmer under 20 seconds. His time eclipsed Will Tarvestad’s state record of 19.94 set last year. Tarvestad took second in 20.22 and Scanlon wound up third in 20.90.

Logan Smith of Covington Catholic dove to first on the 1-meter diving board, finishing with a total score of 518.75 for the victory. Highlands’ Finn Murphy finished second with 443.95 points as Boyle County’s Jared Stivers dove to third with a final score of 438.17.

After taking third in the 200 IM, H. Smith found himself on top of the podium in the 100 fly after getting his hands to the wall the fastest in 49.11. It was a tight race for second, with ultimately Bowling Green’s Neal Morsi taking second in 49.67 ahead of Trinity’s Jacob Dray (49.81).

Tapp showed his sprint talent by adding the 100 free to his 50 free title from earlier. His final time of 43.16 won by two seconds and also broke his own Kentucky state record of 43.99 he set last season. Tarvestad again was the runner-up in 45.18 while Ashland Blazer’s J. J. Holmes was third in 45.86.

Shortly after grabbing the bronze in the 200 free, freshman Hayes dove back in to claim the gold in the 500 free after dropping nearly five seconds from prelims to finish in 4:31.48. Henry Clay’s Matthew Street (4:33.32) and South Warren’s Neal Wolfram (4:35.48) finished second and third, respectively.

Lexington Catholic’s Hils (20.89), Menke (20.07), Smith Dicken (20.84) and Scanlon (20.16) posted a two-second victory in the 4×50 free relay with a combined time of 1:21.96 to crush their own state record of 1:23.76 they set during prelims. St. Xavier (1:23.66) was second and Trinity (1:24.35) was third.

Cole powered home to a win in the 100 back in record-breaking fashion: the junior won in 47.23, breaking Nicholas Albiero’s state mark of 47.23 set in 2017. Menke also snuck under the 50-second mark in 48.39 for second and Scott County’s Kaleb Brannock took third in 50.40.

Louisville Collegiate School’s Alex Brehm won the 100 breast, getting his hands to the wall to touch in a quick time of 55.84. Strother raced to second in 56.07 while 200 IM champion Kang ended up third with a time of 56.24.

H. Smith (47.46), Kang (46.01), Cooper Tyler (47.41) and Cole (43.92) secured St. Xavier’s team title by concluding the meet as champions in the 4×100 free relay with a combined time of 3:04.80 ahead of Highlands (3:10.05) and Trinity (3:10.28).

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