For the first time since 2003 a Lexington swim team can call itself state champion.
Lexington Catholic captured the combined team title at the KHSAA Swimming and Diving Championships at the University of Louisville’s Ralph Wright Natatorium on Saturday, ending a drought that dated back to Paul Laurence Dunbar’s combined title 15 years ago.
Three years ago the Knights finished tied for dead last in the combined standings. What caused such a rapid turnaround?
“I was just blessed with a special group of kids when I took this job,” said LexCath Coach Dave Little.
Among that special group is junior Zach Hils, who won the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 1:46.83, breaking his own state record by two full seconds. He also won the 100 butterfly and swam on the 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay teams, both of which finished second behind St. Xavier.
“It’s amazing, but Zach just keeps getting faster,” said Little. “We made a subtle adjustment to his breast stroke yesterday and he shaved two seconds off his time. He’s so coachable.”
The Knights also got a big boost from Matt Menke, who won the 100 backstroke. LexCath’s boys’ team finished second behind St. Xavier, which won it’s 30th straight championship. LexCath’s girls team finished ninth to wrap up the combined title.
“The girls really put us over the top,” said Little. “Three years ago they finished 28th. We wouldn’t be where we are right now without the improvement they’ve made.”
Mackie Redford and Jennings Redford were crucial for the Knights. The sisters finished second and seventh, respectively, in 1-meter diving.
Tates Creek’s girls finished eighth, highest among Lexington schools. The Commodores were led by Rachel Klinker, who won the 200 freestyle by nearly three second, with a time of 1:46.05. Klinker also captured the 500 freestyle title.
Henry Clay’s Matthew Street placed second in the 500 freestyle.