Hathaway Brown Girls End 24-Year Swimming State Title Streak in Ohio

2023 Ohio High School State Swimming & Diving Championships – Division II

  • February 21-24, 2023
  • C.T. Branin Natatorium, Canton, Ohio
  • 25-yard pool (short course yards)
  • Live Results
  • Prelims Results (PDF) Boys | Girls
  • Finals Results (PDF) Boys | Girls

One of the longest high school state championship streaks in the country is no more after Friday night in Canton, Ohio, where the Hathaway Brown High School girls beat out the 24-time defending state champions from Hawken High.

That was believed to be the 4th-longest state title streak in high school swimming nationally behind the Carmel High School (Indiana) girls at 37 straight, the Bolles High School (Florida) boys at 35 straight, and the Bolles High School (Florida) girls at 32 straight.

Girls’ Meet

Top 5 Teams:

  1. Shaker Heights – Hathaway Brown – 308
  2. Gates Mills – Hawken – 265
  3. Kettering Alter – 158
  4. Bexley – 117
  5. Cincinnati – Mariemont – 111

Hathaway Brown is a private all-girls high school in Shaker Heights, Ohio. The school has existed since 1876, but until Friday had never won a state title. They entered the meet with five consecutive runner-up finishes, but finally broke through on Friday thanks in part to a relay sweep.

In the process, they snapped one of the country’s legendary high school swimming state championship streaks, one that began in the 1990s as a single division and continued when Ohio split into Division I and Division II in the year 2000.

The new champions used a young roster and a couple of sister duos to stake their claim in the record-books on Friday.

Hathaway Brown made a statement early in the session when they dominated the 200 medley relay in a time of 1:43.57. That put them 3.5 seconds ahead of runners-up Bexley High and another tenth better than the defending champions from Hawken.

That Hathaway Brown relay included Claire Mehok (26.10), Sofia Jimenez (29.98), Lilly Mehok (24.36), and Taplin Seelbach (23.13). Seelbach’s anchor split was the fastest in the A-final by four-tenths of a second; the Mehok sisters had the fastest splits on their respective legs as well.

With only Seelbach the senior overlapping, Hathaway Brown again won in the 200 free relay – albeit by a narrower margin. This time, it was Iris Qi (24.62), Meredith Stewart (24.02), Beatrice Stewart (24.25), and Seelbach (22.82) combined for a 1:35.72. Hawken finished 2nd in 1:36.54, led by a 23.86 leadoff leg from freshman Nina Newton.

Port Clinton was 3rd, including a 23.56 leadoff leg from Kami Periat, the fastest leadoff of the field.

With a state title all-but-certain headed into the final event, Hathaway Brown punctuated the day with a 3:28.51 in the 400 free relay, with Lilly Mehok (52.23), Meredith Stewart (52.75), Claire Mehok (51.78), and Seelbach (51.75) carrying them to the win. Hawken finished 2nd in 3:31.56.

Seelbach swam all three relays and in her lone individual event, the 50 free, she finished 2nd in 23.52 — behind Grandview Heights sophomore Carrie Furbee. Curbee swept the sprint titles, winning the 100 free in 51.37. Both are new lifetime bests.

Both of the leading teams have very young rosters heading into next season, with both using freshmen on their relays. That could set up big battles in years to come.

Hathaway Brown added an individual win to their relay success. Lilly Mehok, half of the Mehok twins, won the 100 fly in 53.94, which is just a tenth of a second away from her personal best done at her District Championship meet. This was a breakout year for Lilly: Last season, she was 6th at state in 56.13.

Hawken also picked up an individual win: junior Sarah Pophal swam 4:53.77 to win the 500 free. That’s a best time by 4.5 seconds for her, and improves upon a 5th-place finish at last year’s state meet.

Cincinnati Hills didn’t have the depth to compete for a top 5 team finish (they placed 9th overall), but they did come out with some big firepower early in the meet, winning the first two individual events.

Sophomore Taylor Bacher won the 200 free in 1:49.80. That’s her first time under 1:50 in the race, and jumps her up a rank from her runner-up placement last year.

Her teammate and fellow sophomore Julia Shafer won the next race, the 200 IM, in 2:04.67. That was a nail-biter race that saw a superior breaststroke leg from Shafer give her just-enough room to hold off Lilly Mehok for the win.

A sign of the depth that lifted Hathaway Brown to the team title: Lilly Mehok was 2nd, Claire Mehok was 4th, and freshman Sofia Jimenez was 5th in that race. That’s 46 points from one event.

Periat, after her fiery leadoff leg in the 200 free relay, came right back to win her first state title in the 100 back. She swam 54.32 to place ahead of Claire Mehok (55.64). Periat didn’t swim this event at the state meet as a freshman or sophomore; previously, she had been swimming the 50 free and 100 fly, but had never finished better than 10th.

Only one girls’ event on the day was won by a senior: Bay Village’s Nina LaRosa won the 100 breaststroke in 1:02.57. For the Eastern Michigan commit, that is a new personal best and about a second faster than any Eastern Michigan swimmers went this season.

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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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