January 8th, 2011

22nd Time's A Charm for Larkin

Sarah Newell

CSN Staff Writer

22nd Time's A Charm for Larkin
photo by Sarah Menefee

Tigers beat Bombers for the First Time in the Pool

Until today, Louisville St. Xavier Swimming could never boast a win against the powerhouse Cincinnati St. Xavier. In 21 meetings, each time, the Tigers came up short of the "W."

But Saturday afternoon at Ralph Wright Natatorium, Louisville St. X Head Coach Todd Larkin and his boys went to work early and never looked back, as the Tigersharks left the pool with a 172-143 victory over the Bombers.

“It’s very exciting for our school and for swimming," said Larkin. "We went 21 years without a win, so now we’ve gotten this hurdle out of the way and we can move on. We’ve got to keep this in perspective and keep working hard to improve."

The Tigers won nine out of the 12 events offered at the meet. The Cincinnati St. X Bombers came out with victories in the Boys 1-Meter Diving, 100-Yard Butterfly and 100 Breaststroke.

Even with a loss, the Bombers’ Head Coach Jim Brower said he was proud of the way his guys swam at the meet.

“At this time of the year with our training, you don’t always know what to expect,” said Brower. “But our guys swam well and swam with spirit. We had a lot of lifetime and season best times at the meet. I want to thank our seniors for their leadership. Our captain Gabe Baumgartner had two season best (times). And Joe Lutz did well in diving. Louisville’s got a great team. We’re honored to be here.”

The Tigers led the way minutes into the meet after a win in the 200 Medley Relay. Then, the Tigers’ Andrew Braun took the victory in the 200 Freestyle and Robert Leasure took the win in the 200 Individual Medley. Before the diving break, St. Xavier placed first through fourth in the 50 Free to get the entire Louisville crowd on their feet.

“After the 50 Freestyle, I knew this was really happening,” said Robert Leasure, who picked up victories in 200 Individual Medley and 500 Freestyle. “The medley relay was one of the most exciting relays I had ever been on. We’ve been planning for this meet for a while, and I know (the win) it’s a big deal. When the older guys come back from college, they talk to us about how important it is to win.”

The Tigers had individual victories as well from Khalid Aldaboos (50 Freestyle, 100 Freestyle) and Michael Scheid (100 Backstroke). In addition, the Tigers put an exclamation mark on the victory with a convincing final 400 Freestyle Relay.

“That was the highlight for me today, Andrew Braun anchoring the final relay for us. He did a fantastic job. If we were going to win today, it was going to have to be a team win. It brought everyone together. I talked to the guys at St. X before the meet and brought up the 1980 phrase, ‘Do you believe in miracles?’ We were out there today for every underdog team there ever has been.”

Last year, the Bombers Swim Team finished No. 2 in the country, and the Tigers finished No. 14. Now, Leasure says he wants to focus on finishing the season with the momentum from today.

“We’ll take this energy into high school state," said Leasure. "We want to post great times, and of course, we will think about national rankings. As for today, it’s just great to be a part of this win."

Now, the Tigers have 22 consecutive state titles and a victory against the Bombers on the 22nd attempt.

It’s safe to say the Tigers already have their minds on lucky number 23.


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