FACT CHECK: What Would Happen in a Dual Meet Between St. X (Louisville) and Carmel High?

Kevin Mann, the head swim coach at Loyola Academy in Los Angeles, one of the best high school programs in the country, texts me a few times a year asking for ideas about what teams in other states would race his boys in a dual meet.

While these kind of national marquee matchups have really become popular in other sports, swimming hasn’t caught on as much – probably in large part because of meets like Sectionals and Junior Nationals scratch the itch of seeing, say, the best teams from California face the best teams from Florida.

But the idea really got revved up again last week after St. Xavier High School in Louisville, Kentucky won their 36th-straight Kentucky boys’ high school state championship meet.

A day later, the boys of Carmel High School in Carmel, Indiana won their 10th-straight question.

The battle began simply enough with a question: “Why doesn’t this 36-year winning streak get the same national attention as other big high school winning streaks?”

Which of course caught the ears of Carmel High School, where earlier this month the girls won their 38th-straight State Championship in Indiana.

And I have an opinion on that: Indiana is just a better swimming & diving state overall, so while there are probably years where St. X (which is an all-boys school) would have won Indiana high school state championships, there hasn’t been a ton of big challenges for them in their home state of Kentucky. Or at least that’s the perception. No Chesterton High, no Hamilton Southeastern, no Zionsville or Franklin Community.

But one bold reader who comments under the name “Mark” and who appears to be intimately familiar with the St. X program in Louisville boasted “St. X would win in a duel meet this year by 100 points.”


He backed up that opinion by saying that St. X in Louisville beat St. X in Cincinnati, another legendary high school program that won 22 straight Ohio State Championships until 2022, 229-57. St. Xavier in Cincinnati would go on to win the Ohio D1 state title, the 44th in program history.

That is a true statement, though the context you need for that is that 229-57 was the JV score. For the varsities, the Louisville team still won by a lot, 198-88, but not quite as much.

So that’s a good win. But beating Carmel by 100? That’s a big declaration. I wanted to run the math.

I used swimmers’ finals times from their state championship meets as my data set. Could either team have optimized those lineups for their opponent? Absolutely. But they should have thought about the mythical dual meet when they made those lineups, as both teams had room to spare in their title runs.

I went with three scorers per team, because that’s what I could reliably count on for each team to have at the state meet (and that was true in all but the 100 fly, where Carmel only had two at state).

  • In three-per-team scoring, individual events score 6-4-3-2-1-0, and relays score 8-4-2-0

I only scored one relay per team, because each school can only enter one team at their state meets.

I also skipped diving. Neither school is known for their divers, and diving scores are too hard to compare across competitions anyway.

  • Don’t give me any grief about the format. It’s a fair format, and it’s all make-believe. I chose the format before looking at any results and let the chips fall where they may.

A few things stood out when scanning the results. One is that St. X’s duo of Thomas Mercer and Johnny Crush were the best two swimmers in this make-believe matchup, though Gregg Enoch from Carmel could put up a fight when he’s at his best. There’s no Aaron Shackell on this year’s Carmel boys’ team – a guy who you can count on to win two state titles, shake some records, and make a huge impact on two relays.

Update: back to a tie.

And, after all that, based on my (manual) math, the meet would have been an 82-82 point margin for St. X. In this kind of virtual-hypothetical world, that’s essentially a tie.

While this is hypothetical result, these two schools are only about 2 hours apart by road, so this dual meet would actually be pretty easy to arrange. Maybe a neutral site halfway in between – Columbus East High School in Columbus, Indiana would fit the bill. Or run it as a home-and-home series and try to bring in real crowds to fill the stands.

Two great programs, two storied programs, and a meet that, on paper, could come down to the final relay. What more could we ask for from swimming, or really any sport? Coach Plumb, Coach Larkin, let’s make this happen. If we do, SwimSwam will operate the livestream and gain your programs a national audience, and it will be guaranteed a good time.

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1 month ago

The depth on these two teams is incredible.
I wonder if there are swimmers for either team that could qualify for state but don’t go because the high school Can only send so many.

Reply to  Seth
1 month ago

Indiana is so competitive that I don’t know if that happened, but it definitely happened at X, given KY’s relative ease at making state.

1 month ago

Ah yes Geordie Enoch is my favorite swimmer

Georgie Follower
Reply to  Geordie
1 month ago

King Geordie

1 month ago

Carmel had 3 boys in the 100fly. You didn’t include the last 100 flyer on Carmel, Brian Qian. You also only used finals times, so this is not very accurate.

Last edited 1 month ago by Swimmer
1 month ago

I’ll take Keller boys in TX against any team in the county.

Last edited 1 month ago by JoelM
1 month ago

I’m going to just leave this actual meet simulation right here…

But I’m aware that what I’m doing is way less fun.


(109-72 Xavier)

Austin Carpenter
1 month ago

there’s might to be a tri meet at carmel, st. x louisville vs. carmel vs. columbus st charles. although st charles only got third at state, they had no seniors and only 2 juniors

1 month ago

Never happen LStX is very selective about their meets and only travel one meet a year. Plus if Todd would like it would make them look bad, there is no way he would do it. But the hardest part would be getting Deboor on board since he coaches most of the team.

Reply to  SwimMom
1 month ago

X swims Cincy StX every year and travels to Tennessee for a very competitive invite. In the past, they have swum Columbus North and Carmel. Who are they ducking, exactly?

1 month ago

Let’s do this!!!!

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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