June 28th, 2012

LCS.com Year In Review: Boys Swimming

Paul Najjar

CSN Staff Writer

LCS.com Year In Review: Boys Swimming
file photo by Paul Najjar

Trinity's Cooper and St. X team depth dominate state swim meet

LouisvilleCatholicSports.com chronicles the 2011-2012 sports year in review. We will bring you every sport, every season, every team’s results in a capsule each weekday until we're finished. From Cross-Country to Softball and all sports in between, here’s what happened in 2011-2012 on the Louisville Catholic sports scene.

The St. Xavier Tigers captured their 24th consecutive state title in swimming with a dominant performance from start to finish, but it was Trinity’s Thomas Cooper who shattered a long-standing state record in the 100 freestyle that captured the eyes of the fans.

The Tigers ran away with the championship as they accumulated 484.5 points as runners-up Covington Catholic finished a distant second with 235 points and Trinity finished in third place with 189.

Here’s a look back at an outstanding season of boys swimming:

Trinity – Third place – Kentucky State Swim Championships

Sophomore Thomas Cooper was the center of attention at the state meet. This gifted young swimmer crushed the competition for wins in the 50 and 100 freestyle events. So dominant were his performances that all in attendance seemed to stop to watch this long, lanky 15 year old swim with near perfect form.

Cooper swam a 20.67 in the 50 free championship heat and vowed to get that number under 20 seconds next year. But the real big moment came in the 100 free when he destroyed the record time that was set in 1997 by Kentucky swimming legend Nate Dusing (from Covington Catholic) who set the standard in the event at 44.93.

Cooper, that once-in-a-generation type of swimmer, earned All-American status with his preliminary heat finish of 44.71. He won the finals with a 45.09. His 44.71 is now the standard for which all of Kentucky will be seeking to beat.

The Shamrocks also had an impressive 400 Free Relay effort as they finished second to Covington Catholic. The Rocks posted a 3:10.60 time and bested St. Xavier’s fourth place relay finish by 1.53 seconds. Long time Shamrocks team moderator Wayne Kraus commented, “We haven’t finished ahead of St. X in a relay at state in probably more than 20 years.”

That 400 Free Relay consisted of sophomores Cooper and Chandler Lichtefeld, junior Preston Schilling and senior Nate Bond. Cooper’s anchor leg was scintillating to watch as he dove in in 5th place and sprinted past three teams to get the 2nd place finish for Trinity. His split time of 44.44 just shows where his 100 free record may be headed in the next two years.

St. Xavier – State Champions – 24th consecutive title – 48th swim title in school history

The St. X swimming tradition, 48 state titles in 65 years, has dominated state athletic competition like no other team in any sport. The Tigers swim team earned their 24th consecutive title—tied for third in the nation for state championship win streaks—and it looks like they’ll have their string continue for several years to come.

The team racked up 484.5 points in 11 events plus the diving competition. They averaged 40.375 points per event. Junior Alan Dumstorf took 6th in the diving competition, while Matthew Johnson and Stanley Strader scored points in 11th and 14th places respectively.

But the big point-scoring events came in the swims, and St. X had a number of events where they peppered the top 8 places with excellent performances.

The Tigers opened the state meet with a win in the 200 medley relay. The foursome of Matthew Scheid, Jr, Nicholas Sehlinger, William Buese and Garrett Stephens clocked an All-American time of 1:34.36. While the Tigers won four of the 12 events, Buese’s 100 fly, Scheid, Jr’s 100 back and the 200 free relay, they placed several swimmers in the top 8 finishers in all of the events.

The team took 2nd (Buese), 3rd (William Cromer) and 5th (Mitchell Forde) in the 200 free. In the 200 IM, Robert Leasure (3rd) and Scheid, Jr (5th) scored points. In the 50 free, Stephens (3rd), William Kantlehner (4th) and Patrick Peters (6th) were among the best. The Tigers also placed three in the top eight in the 100 free and 500 free events. And Scheid, Jr took first in the 100 back with teammates Heyward Harrison finishing 3rd and David Rubenstein finishing 7th.

Team depth throughout all of the events was the Tigers strength and head coach Todd Larkin remarked after the meet: “They were huge,” he commented about his younger swimmers. “Most importantly, it’s a team win. I like the youth we have on this team. We lost twenty-four seniors last year and the young guys stepped up, trained hard, worked hard and they deserve whatever accolades they get.”

He added: “With all of our guys, that tradition is so important to them. It’s great to see the alumni come back and our current team subscribe to that tradition. It’s really special. The young kids are excited to be here and I have a lot of respect for the guys. We can only get better. The outlook for the program looks great and you can see the development process take hold and the program shift a bit. We’ve still got a lot of work to do, but I like the direction we’re heading.”


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