Manual outdueled Sacred Heart to win the Pannell Swim Shop/KHSAA Swimming and Diving Girls' State Championship Saturday at the University of Louisville's Ralph Wright Natatorium.
Sacred Heart closed Manual's lead to 1.5 points at 311-309.5 with just the 400-yard freestyle relay remaining, thanks to a state record-breaking dive performance from Becca Corbett and a one-tenth of a second win in the 200-yard freestyle relay.
"The girls battled all weekend long and had some incredible swims today," said Sacred Heart Coach Jim Luebbe.
Corbett took first place and set a state high school record by scoring 509.3 points in the 1-meter diving competition, breaking the record set by Lexington Catholic's Jessica Lyden in 2008 (498.1).
"She (Corbett) was stellar yesterday and amazing today," said Luebbe.
The Valkyries also gained six points on Manual by slipping past them by one-tenth of a second in the 200 freestyle relay (1:37.76-1:37.86).
"I can't remember the last time we beat Manual in that relay — it's been so long," Luebbe said. "It was an amazing feeling for the girls, I am sure. It was one of the best swims I have ever seen."
However, Manual responded by taking first place in the final event of the meet, the 400 freestyle relay to expand its slim lead and secure the championship 351-341.5.
"It has been a yearlong goal. We won the region over Sacred Heart by half a point so we knew it was going to come down to the last relay like this," said Manual Coach J.C. Barnett. "I have the utmost respect for the Valkyries. Jim Luebbe is a lifelong friend of mine."
Manual's Sarah Love was first in the 100 freestyle and second in the 50 freestyle.
"You can't measure how proud I am of our Manual girls," Barnett said. "I am just kind of choked up with emotion. We've had some ups and downs, but we have fought through them."
Paul Laurence Dunbar finished seventh with 109 points. The Bulldogs placed fifth in the 400 freestyle relay and third in the 200 freestyle relay.
"I feel my athletes had a tremendous day," Dunbar Coach Eddie Clement said. "We have so many excellent teams in region five, we are just happy to compete there and do the best we can in the state."
Lexington Christian Academy finished eighth with 96 points. The Eagles finished seventh in both the 200 and 400 freestyle relays. Danielle Binkauskas (200 and 500 freestyle) and Madison Sapp (100 butterfly) earned points for LCA by making the championship final heats.
"This is my first year of coaching a high school team and it has been phenomenal. I couldn't be more proud of the girls," said LCA Coach Barbie Viney. "They really stepped up with the 400 freestyle and dropped five seconds from yesterday. It was an awesome display of all of them working really well together."