Crush Family Legacy Continues As Sacred Heart Girls, St. Xavier Dominate KHSAA Champs

2023 KHSAA Championships

For four consecutive years, Annabel Crush (2018-21) and Charlie Crush (2019-22) played prominent roles in guiding the Sacred Heart Academy girls and St. Xavier High School boys to repeat victories at the Kentucky High School (KHSAA) State Championships. Now, it’s their siblings, Charlotte Crush and Johnny Crush, who are doing the same.

After a one-year break without any Crush contributions, the Sacred Heart girls were buoyed by the addition of freshman Charlotte at the championships over the weekend, roaring to their 11th straight title as Crush set state records in both of her individual events and also contributed to two winning relays.

On the boys’ side, junior Johnny helped guide St. Xavier to its 35 straight title, setting an individual state record of his own and another on a relay.


Charlotte Crush starred for Sacred Heart, winning a pair of individual titles in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke while also playing a key role in leading the team to relay wins in the 200 medley and 400 free.

Individually, Crush first lowered the KHSAA Record in the prelims of the 100 fly, clocking 51.55 to lower the previous mark of 51.75 set by Grace Oglesby in 2015.

Crush then won the final handily, going a tick slower in 51.56. Her personal best time sits at 51.46, set in March 2022.

She then lowered the state record twice in the 100 back, first clocking 51.57 in the prelims before getting down to 51.14 in the final. Her prelim swim took down the previous record held by her sister, Annabel Crush, who went 52.66 in 2021.

Crush also split 23.81 swimming fly as Sacred Heart cruised to victory in the 200 medley relay, as she was joined by sophomore Haley McDonald and juniors Carlie Tyler and Georgia Kahler for a final time of 1:42.25.

In the 400 free relay, McDonald led off in 50.67 and Crush anchored in 48.94 as Sacred Heart won by more than six seconds in 3:25.39, with sophomore Merritt Walker and junior Ella Donlin also contributing to the squad.

McDonald joined Crush in winning two individual events, claiming the 500 free (4:53.11) and 200 IM (1:59.89), both just shy of her personal best times.

Without Crush or McDonald, Sacred Heart also emerged victorious in the 200 free relay, with Kahler leading off in 23.89 and Donlin anchoring in 23.82 as they clocked 1:37.02, beating out Lexington Catholic (1:38.06).

Another notable performance on the girls’ side came from Notre Dame senior Lainy Kruger, who established a season-best of 1:46.36 en route to victory in the 200 free. Kruger also won the 100 breast in 1:02.30.

Another multi-event winner was West Jessamine senior Lily Delong, who set a new best time en route to victory in the 50 free (23.43) and added a second win in the 100 free (51.35).

Also setting a KHSAA Record was Madison Southern junior Reagan Patterson, who scored 512.50 in the 1-meter diving event to topple the previous record of 509.30 set in 2012. Cooper junior Peytton Moore (512.30) also went under the old record.


  1. Sacred Heart, 340.5
  2. Lexington Catholic, 202
  3. Notre Dame, 196
  4. Elizabethtown, 140
  5. Paul Laurence Dunbar, 135


The St. Xavier boys won six of eight individual swimming events and two of the three relays (while getting the other disqualified) en route to a dominant KHSAA title, their 35th in a row.

Leading the charge for St. Xavier was the aforementioned Johnny Crush, who set a new KHSAA Record in the 100 back and added a second individual win in the 100 free.

In the 100 back, Crush put up a time of 46.55 to down the three-year-old record of 46.92, set by St. Xavier’s Will Cole, and Crush also improved on his personal best time of 46.68 set at Winter Juniors – East in December.

Johnny Crush. Photo: Chip Dumstorf

In the 100 free, Crush broke 44 seconds for the first time in 43.89, improving on his previous best of 44.01 set at the KHSAA Region Four Championships at the beginning of February.

In the meet-opening 200 medley relay, Crush (21.55), Will Scholtz (24.16), Thomas Mercer (21.57) and Alex Thiesing (19.66) combined to annihilate the field, only to be disqualified after Thiesing recorded a -.03 reaction time.

Prior to the DQ, the team had swum a time of 1:26.94, which is more than a second under the KHSAA Record of 1:28.14.

As a result, Paul Laurence Dunbar won the race in a time of 1:33.59, though St. Xavier would bounce back in the other two relays.

In the 200 free relay, the team emerged with a narrow victory over Paul Dunbar, 1:22.94 to 1:23.04, with St. Xavier’s top split coming from junior Jack Augustus at 20.29.

In the 400 free relay, Thiesing (44.73), Mercer (44.11), Crush (43.50) and Scholtz (45.16) combined to demolish the state record of 3:00.27 in a blistering 2:57.50, nearly 13 seconds clear of the rest of the field.

400 Free Relay Race Video:

Scholtz and Mercer went toe-to-toe in the 200 IM, with Mercer breaking the state record in the prelims, clocking in at 1:46.37 to lower the 1:46.83 mark established by Zach Hils in 2018.

In the final, Scholtz used a 25.50 freestyle leg to come back on Mercer and claim victory, resetting the record in 1:45.89 to Mercer’s 1:46.60.

Will Scholtz. Photo: Chip Dumstorf

Individually, St. Xavier also picked up wins from Thiesing in the 200 free (1:37.05), Augustus in the 500 free (4:32.20) and Mercer in the 100 fly (48.48).

Another KHSAA Record went down in the 100 breast, as Paul Dunbar senior Alex Ochsenbein clocked 53.75 to break the 2022 record of 53.88, set by Scholtz. Scholtz actually matched his mark from last year down to the hundredth to place second.

Other winners on the day were Paul Dunbar junior Seneca Oddo in the 50 free (20.14) and Lexington Catholic junior Michael Buchart III in the 1-meter diving event (519.50).


  1. St. Xavier, 513
  2. Paul Laurence Dunbar, 232
  3. Ryle, 152
  4. Henry Clay, 147
  5. Trinity, 106

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About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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