February 24th, 2018

SHA shatters point record, wins sixth straight title

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Conor Revell

Managing Editor

SHA shatters point record, wins sixth straight title
The Valkyries pose with the state championship trophy / photo by Conor Revell

Sacred Heart’s swim team has won more Pannell Swim Shop / Kentucky High School Athletic Association Swimming & Diving Championships than any other girls’ swim program in Kentucky.

Nobody is going to catch up anytime soon as the Valkyries won their sixth straight state title beating out second-place North Oldham 520.5-198 at the University of Louisville’s Natatorium Saturday night.

Assumption finished 13th with 56 points.

The 520.5 points is a new record for the most at a state meet, surpassing their own 502.5 points set at the 2014 state meet.

“We shattered the record,” Sacred Heart head coach Jim Luebbe said. “It shows how deep our team was and how unified they were in their goal setting and what they wanted to accomplish as a team.”

Sacred Heart has now won 29 team state titles, 20 more than Notre Dame who has the second most in the state.

“Both the 2014 team and this year’s team were united with the same purpose,” Luebbe said. “We talked about how it’s more important for the team to have success than your own individual success and to just do your job for the team. Lastly, we wanted to have fun and we had fun this year.”

It’s the third time the Valkyries have won six straight state titles having won 11 straight from 1978-88 and six consecutive from 1995-2000.

“I think its shows how we have come together as a team,” Sacred Heart senior Tonner DeBeer said. “This is the first time where we had a swimmer qualify for every event in the finals. The togetherness got us here and is the reason why we swam so well. It’s amazing to be a part of it.”

Annabel Crush, Ellie Masterson, Emily Lenihan, and DeBeer gave Sacred Heart its first victory of the night by winning the 200 medley relay clocking a 1:43.08, just over a half a second ahead of Collegiate.

Claire Donan, a sophomore, gave the Valkyries their second win by clocking a 1:59.63 to win the 200 IM, it was Donan’s first individual state title outside of a relay.

“In the 200 IM I had to focus on keeping strong legs and the tempo on the backstroke,” Donan said. “I had to have a strong hold in the breaststroke.”

Mary McAtee, Donan, Karson Dickinson, and Allison Bauer clocked a 1:34.84 to win the 200 free relay, Sacred Heart’s third win.

Crush, only a freshman, gave the Valkyries its fourth win in the 100 backstroke with a time of 50.9, just .10 away from breaking a meet record, it was her first individual title.

“It was really fun, I just had to focus on my underwaters and turns,” Crush said. “It was nerve racking, but I just had to tell myself that I was going to be fine.”

Crush, Lenihan, Donan, and DeBeer clocked a 3:23.44 to win the 400 free relay, its fifth and final victory to end the meet.

“Its been an amazing four years,” DeBeer said. “I don’t get to swim with most of these girls because I don’t swim with Lakeside, I swim with Triton. Its been so great to bond with my Valkyrie sisters. Its been such a great experience being a part of this team.”

Crush (200 IM), Donan (100 breast), and DeBeer (50 free) gave Sacred Heart second place finishes in individual events.

“Claire Donan had a good day,” Luebbe said. “Annabel Crush had a good day. Tonner had a good day. Our relay teams did well. We had good leaders with our seniors and I think that was a big reason why we had a lot of success today.”

Sophia Miller (200 free), DeBeer (100 fly), and McAtee (100 free) recorded third place finishes for the Valkyries.

“Tonner (DeBeer) was a leader, she was somebody that I could rely on,” Luebbe said. “She had a really good meet. You can always count on her splits in the relays. From a leadership standpoint, she was about the team, and I think that was a big difference maker. She was always about the team and not about herself.”

DeBeer was named the Midway University/KHSAA Female Student Athlete of the Year for Swimming after the meet. She’ll be a finalist in April to possibly win the overall award against females that won awards in their sports.  

For Luebbe and his squad, next year could go down in the record book as Sacred Heart goes for seven in a row, a title would give the school its second longest title streak in school history.

But, Luebbe doesn’t want to think about next year for now, he wants to savor this victory.


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