December 29th, 2015

LCSN No. 4 story of 2015: SHA and St. X swim teams win again

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Conor Revell

Managing Editor

LCSN No. 4 story of 2015: SHA and St. X swim teams win again
The St. X swim team has won 27 straight state championships / file photo

The Louisville Catholic Sports Network has chosen its top 10 stories of 2015 and is posting them in a series that started Dec. 21 with an honorable mention list. LCSN will have a story each day and will run our top story of the year Dec. 31.

When high school sports dynasties come to mind in Kentucky, the Sacred Heart and St. Xavier swim programs would have to rank near the top.

The Tigers have won 51 state championships and last year’s title was their 27th in a row and 33rd in the past 39 years.

Brophy College Prep won its 28th straight Arizona state title this past fall, a feat the Tigers can match later this winter.

The streak was in jeopardy in 2014, but like always, St. X figured out a way to win.

This year it was business as usual. St. X collected 449.5 points and second-place Covington Catholic (335 points) wasn’t even close.

“We take it one day at a time,” St. X head coach Todd Larkin said after the victory. “We have a very good group. It was about getting back to the basics and we wanted to swim hard. If you were going to beat us, we were going to make you earn it. That’s the way we went out every meet and every meet seems to have a game-seven atmosphere because everybody is coming after you and giving it their best.”

St. X won four events and had a top-three finisher in every event but three.

Senior and now University of North Carolina swimmer Heyward Harrison had a huge day, placing in the top two in four events. That included victories in the 200-yard individual medley and the 200 medley relay.

“We all bounce off each other,” Harrison said. “We get each other really excited. We really cheer during relays because they are so big in swimming, especially in a meet like this when it can get pretty tight at the end of a meet.”

J.D. Mundt, Keefer Barnum, Matthew McDermott and Harrison won the 200 medley relay in 1:32.93, breaking the record (1:33.26) set by a St. X foursome two years ago.

Clayton Forde placed second in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:41.26, way behind Beechwood’s Austin Haney (1:38.97).

Harrison took the 200 IM in 1:49.18 and finished more than one second ahead of the runner-up, Covington Catholic’s Mike Summe. 

Mundt clocked a 21.60 in the 50 free, which was good for second place behind Ballard’s Branson Smith (21.18). McDermott came in third.

“We’ve never lost in all four years,” Mundt said. “That’s a really big accomplishment. It’s something that we’re very proud of. It’s really fun and I enjoy it every time. I’m swimming with my best friends.”

Trey Hubbuch (4:32.33) finished second and Forde (4:33.87) third the 500 freestyle.

Trent Schulten, Mundt, McDermott and Forde won the 200 free relay in 1:25.53.

Barnum recorded a win in the 100 breaststroke when he clocked a 55.88.

While Sacred Heart hasn’t won 27 straight state titles, it has won three straight and now owns 26 in program history.

Despite winning two fewer events than they did last year, the Valkyries snatched eight victories and bagged 486 points, a whopping 215 more than second-place Notre Dame.

“The girls put in the time and effort,” Sacred Heart head coach Jim Luebbe said. “Their club coaches are phenomenal and really supportive of their dedication. In today’s world, sometimes you want things really quickly. But this sport requires constant work and a lot of time commitment. I’m really proud of the time that they put into their craft.”

Leah Stevens, Kennedy Lohman, Brooke Forde, Erin Duffey, Asia Seidt and three relay teams won state titles. The Valkyries had a top-two finisher in every event.

Stevens, who’s at Stanford now, capped a marvelous career by winning three state titles and came in second in another event. She placed second in the 200 freestyle.

“I was disappointed because it would have been awesome to win the 200 free, but I wasn’t upset about it,” Stevens said. “I have learned to focus on myself. Sophie (Skinner of Notre Dame) happened to have a better race than me. I’m happy for her. She’s the sweetest girl ever. I was still happy and I pushed that race out of my head and used that motivation to win the 500.”

Shortly after seeing her three-year run of winning the 200 freestyle come to an end, Stevens won the 500 free for the third straight year when she clocked a 4.45.71.

“I didn’t have to talk to her at all because her reaction told me everything,” Luebbe said. “She went and congratulated Sophie. The next thing she did was she flashed a heart. Our team flashes a heart to show appreciation to our parents and fans. That was an amazing life lesson for all because it’s very easy to get upset and rattled when things don’t go our way in life.”

She was also on the championship 400 free relay team with Bauer, Seidt and DeBeer that clocked a 3:24.36.

Stevens swam laps with Molly O’Hara, Lohman and Bauer on SHA’s winning 200 free relay team.

Tonner DeBeer, Lohman, Seidt and Brooke Bauer won the 200-yard medley relay with a record time of 1:40.74. The second-place Pandas didn’t touch the wall for another five seconds.

Forde won the 200 individual medley in 2:00.61. Lohman followed her three seconds later for a second-place finish.

DeBeer came in second in the 50 free with a time of 23.57.

Duffey, who is now at the University of Louisville, posted a 469.20 score to win the diving competition. It was her second state title after missing her junior year with a concussion. She also battled flu-like symptoms the week leading up to the state meet.

“It has been kind of crazy because I got another concussion in November,” Duffey said. “I had to make a very fast recovery and had a month of training to get back where I used to be. I started working out hard every day and got it done.”

Seidt finished the 100 butterfly in 54.03 to come in second.

Bauer (51.52) placed second in the 100 free. DeBeer (51.66) came in third.

Seidt (53.44) won the 100 backstroke for the third straight year.

“My goal today was just to get as excited as possible with my team,” Seidt said. “That’s what high school swimming is all about. You just want to have a blast with your team and make memories.”

Lohman took home the 100 breaststroke when she clocked a 1:01.23 – breaking her own record of 1:01.29 set last year.


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