St. Xavier boys win 25th state swim title in a row

mmaloney@herald-leader.comFebruary 23, 2013 

LOUISVILLE — Will St. Xavier's dominance ever end?

Not anytime soon, based on Saturday's results in the Pannell Swim Shop/KHSAA Swimming and Diving Meet.

The Tigers extended their streak of state titles to a quarter-century, winning their 49th title overall, by racking up 430½ points at the University of Louisville's Ralph Wright Natatorium.

"The streak isn't really something that we focus on," Coach Todd Larkin said. "The teams that won five years ago, they're not going to help us today.

"I think our guys do an excellent job of using the tradition but really understanding and putting the tradition in its place. They know that we've got to come to play, and we've got to come to play on that day."

Covington Catholic, led by Most Outstanding Competitor Max Williamson, placed second with 311½ points. Dunbar was the top Lexington team, edging Tates Creek 137-136 for sixth place.

St. X took two relays and two individual titles Saturday.

"Preparation. ... I think all that detail work really shows up at the end of the season," Larkin said. "It's a complement to them on how they work out, how they practice each day. They just don't let the pressure get to them. When it's time to crank it up, they crank it up."

The Tigers snared the 200-yard medley and 200 freestyle relays. The medley — Robert Leasure, Nicholas Sehlinger, William Harrison and Garrett Stephenson — started things with a meet-record 1:33.26.

Mitchell Forde took the 100 freestyle and fellow senior Leasure won the 200 individual medley.

"We had a great meet," Larkin said. "We have a great group of seniors and they were fantastic. Fantastic."

CovCath had a fantastic senior in Williamson, a Stanford recruit.

He shattered his day-old meet record of 1:38.95 in the 200 freestyle, touching in 1:37.93. He also won the 100 backstroke in 48.77, anchored the meet-record 400 freestyle relay to a 3:06.59 finish and swam on the Colonels' third-place medley relay.

Louisville athletes bagged four of five other events: Jake Schultz in the 500 freestyle, with Ballard teammate Aaron Sexton in the 100 breaststroke; Manual's Brian Habacivich in the 50 freestyle, and Trinity's Thomas Cooper in the 100 butterfly. Dixie Heights' Bailey Harrison was tops in one-meter diving.

Travis Johnson paced Dunbar with a third-place finish in the 50 freestyle

Tates Creek had the best individual results from Lexington, runner-up finishes by Ethan Curl in the 500 freestyle and Christian Clark in the 200 individual medley.

Curl, a junior, touched in 4:34.71, behind a meet-record 4:23.00 by Ballard's Schultz.

"It was better than my (seventh-place) 200 free. I felt longer and more strong. It's pretty tough to chase Jake Schultz. The kid's fast," Curl said. "I was next to him in the 200 in the prelims. ... I knew I just had to get out fast and at least challenge him. I wanted to make it tough for him to get first at least."

Clark trailed only St. X's Leasure in the individual medley, 1:50.46 to 1:53.08.

"I just gave it all I had, so I was happy with it. You can't complain when you give it your best," said Clark, a senior.

Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229. Twitter: @markmaloneyhl. Blog: markmaloney.bloginky.com

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