- Where: Ralph Wright Natatorium, University of Louisville
- When: Thursday, February 26th – Saturday, February 28th
- Defending Champions: Sacred Heart Girls (5x) | St. Xavier Boys (26x) results
- Live Results
The Kentucky High School State (KHSAA) Championships kick off this Thursday with diving prelims, and the Sacred Heart girls and St. Xavier boys will look to defend their championship title streaks. That number above is correct; St. Xavier has won 26 straight and they have 50 titles to boast in all. On the girls’ side, Sacred Heart was won 25 in all, and 12 since 1995. Boys’ prelims start Friday morning and finals are Saturday morning, while the girls will compete Friday and Saturday afternoon.
Sacred Heart returns a ton of talent this year, led by Stanford commit Leah Stevens, who dominated both the 200 and 500 freestyle last year. Other double-winner returnees for Sacred Heart include juniors Asia Seidt, who took 200 IM and 100 backstroke titles in state-record time last year, and Brooke Bauer, who won the 50 and 100 free. Between Stevens, Seidt, Bauer, and junior Kennedy Lohman are five individual state records, and Sacred Heart holds all relay records, in addition to the 1-meter diving record. This is a team that is definitely one of the best in the country, and they look primed to take their sixth straight championship.
Just from looking at the psych sheets, which are available on the KHSAA website, Sacred Heart looks dominant. They have numerous individual top seeds, along with top seeds in all of the relays. It’s looking to be a big year for Brooke Forde, a sophomore for Sacred Heart who has put up the top seed in the 200 IM and is third in the 500 behind #1 Stevens, showing that they will still have plenty of firepower for the coming years.
Sacred Heart is clearly a force to be reckoned with, though there are a few events in which they don’t hold the top seeds. Junior Grace Oglesby (North Oldham) is the top entry in the 50 free (23.46) as well as the 100 fly (52.72). She’ll meet Seidt, last year’s 200 IM and 100 backstroke state record-breaker, in that 100 fly. Seidt is seeded with a 53.72 after leaving the IM to Forde and switching to the fly to go along with the 100 back.
In the 50 free, two very young swimmers are seeded 2nd and 3rd behind Oglesby. In 2nd, seeded with a 23.84 is Sacred Heart freshman Tonner DeBeer, followed up by 7th grader Gabi Albiero of Christian Academy (23.89). Kentucky is one state which allows for younger students to compete at the high school level.
Another young swimmer, Notre Dame freshman Sophie Skinner, holds the top time in the 100 free (51.23), and is closely followed by Bauer (51.49) and DeBeer (52.04) from Sacred Heart.
An interesting event on paper will be the 1-meter diving, as three seniors are seeded with scores between 500 and 510. Those three are Sacred Heart’s Olivia DeLong (509.85) and Erin Duffey (502.10), as well as 2014 champion, Highlands’ Carly Hill (508.65).
In addition to their top seeded events, Sacred Heart has SEVENTEEN individual swimmers or divers seeded in the top ten overall, and that’s not even considering their relay strength.
The St. Xavier boys are back to defend their title once more, led by UNC-bound Heyward Harrison, the defending 200 IM champ who also put down the 3rd fastest 100 back time last year.
Like the Sacred Heart girls, the St. Xavier boys are incredibly deep, with numerous guys in the top 10 in nearly every event. Harrison is the top seed in the 200 IM once again, and a move from the 100 back to the 100 fly puts him 2nd overall. St. Xavier’s Keefer Barnum (57.00) is the top seed in the 100 breast, and will be important on their medley relay, which is seeded 2nd behind Madison Central by over half a second.
Two boys looking to uphold their seeded double-wins are Ballard’s Branson Smith in the 50 and 100 free and Christian Academy’s Nicolas Albiero, Gabi Albiero’s older brother. Smith is going to be defending his 50 and 100 free titles from last year, while Albiero is the top seed in both the 100 back and 100 fly, after finishing 6th and 5th, respectively, last year.
St. Xavier has won 26 STRAIGHT championships on the boys’ side, but while the Sacred Heart girls won by a whopping 277 points last year, the St. Xavier boys only won by 32.5 points. St. Xavier has 18 boys seeded in the top 10, including 2 top seeds, while Covington Catholic, last year’s runners-up, have 12 with 1 top seed. St. Xavier is looking good for another championship, but it’s not going to be a blow out, that’s for sure.
- GIRLS – As crazy as this might seem, pretty much every single record is at risk of falling this weekend. Most were set by current swimmers, and some, like the 200 free (1:47.73) have swimmers like Leah Stevens nipping at their heels (she was 1:47.95 last year). The diving record is .55 lower than the score of top seed DeLong of Sacred Heart. The ladies of Sacred Heart have what it takes to reset their relay records, and it could end up being a pretty historic weekend for Kentucky high school girls swimming.
- BOYS – While the girls meet is looking to make records fall left and right, the boys are not really within striking range of some tough state marks. The best individual candidate may be diver Nick Fox of Scott. The senior, who is seeded with a score of 533.15, is less than twenty points off of the 552.70 record set by Phillip Jones in 1999. That record is one of only three that still stand from before 2009. The other two are the 100 fly (47.10) and 100 back (48.09) set by Nate Dusing in 1997. The St. Xavier boys are also not too far off of the 400 free relay record of 3:06.59 set by Covington Catholic in 2013, a squad that included Stanford’s Max Williamson, as they are seeded at 3:08.46 with their relay.
- Check out all of the Kentucky state records and more information about the meet on the KHSAA website.