SPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP – The chlorine dynasty continues off North Bend Road as St. Xavier High School’s (Cincinnati) boys swim team has splashed to another national title.
For the fifth consecutive year, the AquaBombers finished on top of the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association national dual meet ranking for boys. It marks the eleventh overall NISCA crown for St. X and the “five-peat” is the first by any boys’ school in at least the last twenty-one years. Previous wins were recorded in 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.
The Long Blue Lane racked up 6341 points to outdistance Loyola (CA) – 6231, Carmel (IN) – 6146, Phillips (MA) – 6109 and Woodlands (TX) – 5971. Nearly two hundred schools were evaluated using a system that considers quality and team depth for all high school swimming and diving events. The top ten literally reached from coast to coast (Massachusetts to California) and border to border (Minnesota to Texas).
“We believe that the level of competition we faced every week coupled with our emphasis on improving each day as a team served us well,” St. Xavier head coach Tim Beerman said. “The talent and depth of our district and state challenges us to get better. We as coaches are extremely gratified to be able to hang another NISCA banner in Keating Natatorium. We not only faced tremendous challenges in the water but had to overcome some expected and unexpected hurdles along the way. Our athletes and their families embraced what, why and how we approached the season. We are blessed and grateful for their efforts.”
Added assistant head coach Tom Keefe, “We said goodbye to seven of our top swimmers following the 2017-18 season. The way each and every athlete on the squad stepped in and stepped up produced a truly remarkable performance. There are many movable parts in our program. Fortunately, we were all moving in the right direction.”
Hall of Fame coach Jim Brower is also still around the AquaBombers as an assistant coach.
“Congratulations to our guys, as well as the athletes we compete with on a local, regional and national level,” Brower said. “The sport keeps getting faster and to be a part of the evolution is professionally and personally significant.”
Assistant coach Eric Bressinger, who rejoined the coaching ranks at his alma mater in 2013 remarked, “this was the most satisfying coaching experience I have had.”
The AquaBombers captured an Ohio record 40th state championship in February. It was the program’s eleventh straight and twentieth in the last twenty-one years.
All American honors were also presented by NISCA. Nine team members were part of this elite group, seven of whom were first-timers. The seven ties a program record for most “rookie” All-Americans in a season.
“The time standards for All-American are incredibly fast,” Brower said. “These guys and the teammates with whom they train have worked so hard and improved in so many ways.”
- Jon Bernard (SR): 100 Breast
- Nate Buse (JR): 200 Medley Relay, 100 Fly
- Jean-Pierre Khouzam (JR): 200 Medley Relay, 100 Fly, 100 Free, 200 Free Relay, 400 Free Relay
- John Paul Khouzam (SR): 200 Free Relay, 400 Free Relay
- Kellen Roddy (JR): 500 Free
- Scott Sobolewski (JR): 200 Medley Relay, 200 IM, 100 Breast, 400 Free Relay
- Owen Taylor (SO): 200 Medley Relay, 200 Free Relay
- Ian Van Gorp (JR): 200 Free Relay, 400 Free Relay
- Grady Wheeler (SR): 200 Free, 500 Free
“Each one of these student/athletes has a unique story to tell,” Keefe said.” But what makes their accomplishments special is they journeyed together.”
In addition, ten seniors garnered Academic All-American status: Jon Bernard, Andrew Devine, Jack Hammond, John Paul Khouzam, Aki Li, Ted Lockett, Patrick McLaughlin, Evan Schell, Christian Wall and Jackson Wilking.
“The curriculum at St. X is quite demanding,” head coach Beerman said. “These individuals epitomize student and athlete and certainly have accomplished a great deal in and out of the water.”
Added department head and assistant Don DiGiacomo, “Having coached and taught many of these gentlemen gives me a deep appreciation of what they have meant to the school and the team.”
(Thanks to Becky Schulte, St. Xavier Marketing and Communications)