Tim Beerman may be the new man in charge of the St. Xavier boys’ swimming team this season, but the AquaBombers tradition will remain the same as far as the new head coach is concerned.
That tradition is built on focusing on each swimmer’s potential and has resulted in 36 state swimming and diving titles, including the last seven straight.
St. Xavier is a favorite for state title No. 37 and an eighth straight this season behind a talented roster that includes junior Grant House who won individual state titles in the 200 and 100 freestyle events last season while anchoring a state championship 400 freestyle relay team.
“It’s a tradition that began back in the early ’70s when Keating Natatorium first put up its walls and that definitely started us out on the road to trying to maximize each individual athlete’s performances while doing it in a team setting,” Beerman said. “I really feel like that’s sort of a nutshell of what we do. The overall effort remains the same throughout the years. Each individual athlete has something to contribute and we’re trying to help them uncover a potential that they haven’t realized before.”
Beerman takes over for Jim Brower, who won 21 state titles in 23 years as head coach and is the all-time leader in boys’ state championships in Ohio sports history. Brower remains an assistant on the staff. Beerman spent the past eight seasons on the St. Xavier staff and has 21 years coaching experience, including 13 as the head coach at Ursuline Academy where he won four state titles.
“So far things are looking good,” Beerman said. “The training that the kids have been doing and the meets that they’ve been swimming with their clubs show that we’re in pretty good shape to start our season when our competitions begin in early December.”
House leads a host of returning state qualifiers at St. Xavier.
“Grant qualified for the World Junior Games and was part of a world record setting 800 freestyle relay (over the summer), so he is definitely one of our top athletes in multiple events,” Beerman said.
Senior Matt Slabe also returns for St. Xavier after finishing fourth in the 200 free and fourth in the 500 free. Junior Luke Sobolewski was eighth in the 100 butterfly and sixth in the 100 backstroke. Senior Nate Jonas was eighth in the 200 individual medley, junior Patrick Butkovich was eighth in the 500 free and sophomore Dillon Froass was eighth in the 100 breaststroke.
“I would certainly hope that with good training and good health that we would make our way up to Canton,” Beerman said. “No predictions yet, but there is a lot of talent on this team. I think what we’re trying to get the team to realize is that they don’t even realize the amount of talent that they have. As we grow and progress toward seeing what each person can contribute, then we’re going to have a greater picture of what the team’s overall approach is going to be.”
St. Xavier will begin the season ranked No. 2 in the Enquirer Division I preseason coaches’ poll behind No. 1 Mason. Last season’s state runner-up Moeller is No. 3 with Lakota East, Turpin, Walnut Hills Lakota West, Anderson, Kings, Hamilton and Sycamore among other are teams to watch.
The area is loaded with fast swimmers and state qualifiers returning in Division I, including a local field in the 200 free and 500 free that dominated the competition last season at state.
House won the 200 free with Slabe fourth, Anderson senior Hassler Carroll fifth and Lakota East junior Josh McDonald sixth.
McDonald won a state title and led another dominant field in the 500. Carroll was third, Slabe was fourth and Mason senior Joel Thatcher was fifth. Turpin senior Jonathan Ericksen was seventh and Butkovich was eighth.
“The Southwest District is always a perennial power in the state competition and that just fuels our effort as we gear up in local competitions,” Beerman said. “There are any number of swimmers from the Southwest District who help our team to excel by giving us excellent competition throughout our season.”
In Division II, top-seeded Seven Hills also has a new coach. Brandon Williams has inherited a boys’ team that won state as a team with Mariemont fourth. Williams will also coach the Seven Hills girls.
“I am very excited to see what Seven Hills can achieve this season,” Williams said. “Although it is my first season as a coach for Seven Hills, I see a lot of promise in the team. This year we have a total of 25 swimmers with 13 returning state qualifiers. “
Seven Hills senior Matthew Marquardt, who recently sign to swim at Princeton University, was second in the 100 butterfly and second in the 100 backstroke at state last season and junior Tim Hagemeister was fourth in the 500 free. Seven Hills sophomore Tindar Cyr was eighth in the 100 breaststroke.
Marquardt scored 34 points for his team at state in 2015 and is in store for a similar performance throughout this season.
“I have been following his club meet performances and it looks like he is gearing up for another great season,” Williams said.
Cincinnati Country Day, Indian Hill and Wyoming tied for second in the Division II preseason coaches’ poll. Also watch Mariemont, CHCA, Madeira, Clark Montessori, Talawanda and Badin.
who to watch
Carson Burt, Wyoming – The junior was seventh in the 200 free and eighth in the 100 free last season at the Division II state meet.
Hassler Carroll, Anderson – The senior was fifth in the 200 free and was third in the 500 free last season at the Division I state meet.
Tim Hagemeister, Seven Hills – The junior was fourth in the 500 free at the Division II state meet last season.
Grant House, St. Xavier – The junior won Division I individual state titles in the 200 and 100 freestyle events last season while anchoring a state championship 400 freestyle relay team. He also qualified for the World Junior Games and was part of a world record setting 800 freestyle relay over the summer.
Josh McDonald, Lakota East – The junior won the Division I 500 freestyle state title and was sixth in the 200 free last season.
Matthew Marquardt, Seven Hills – The senior was second in the 100 butterfly and second in the 100 backstroke at state last season in Division II and will swim in college at Princeton.
Jacob Peloquin, Moeller – The senior was fifth at state in the Division I 100 butterfly and seventh in the 100 backstroke events last season.
Matt Slabe, St. Xavier – The senior was fourth in the 200 free and the 500 free last season at the Division I state meet.
Luke Sobolewski, St. Xavier – The junior was eighth in the 100 butterfly and sixth in the 100 backstroke at the Division I state meet last season.
Noah Vigran, Indian Hill – The sophomore finished sixth last season in the Division II state diving competition.