The Ohio State High School Division I Championship meet took place in Canton over the weekend, where the men from St. Xavier and women from Upper Arlington overpowered the competition in repeat performances from last year.
The storied St. Xavier Swimming & Diving team out of Cincinnati claimed its 8th consecutive Ohio State Swimming title, marking the program’s 37th overall.
The Upper Arlington Bears outside of Columbus earned their 11th consecutive state title.
The Bombers raced to the top of the podium in 2 of 3 relays, including the 200 medley relay to kick-off the competition. Justin Grender, Charles Leibson, Luke Sobolewski and Nicholas Perera combined to take the win in a time of 1:30.40.
Matt Slabe, Leibson, Grender and World Junior Record Holder, Grant House, also went on to win the men’s 400 freestyle relay, clocking a mark of 3:01.34 for the Bombers.
But, the boys from Brecksville proved too much for St. X in the sprint 200 freestyle relay, with a trio of seniors – Mark Krusinski, Mike Lynch, Matthew Martin – joined sophomore David Madej to clench the win in a mark of 1:21.78, a new state record. Madej scored a sub-20 split in 19.98, the only one of the field, to help carry the win.
Madej also made his mark in the individual 100 freestyle event, winning a stunning 44.31, almost .7 of a second ahead of the rest of the field, which included runner-up Kalvin Koethke from Grove City (45.00). As just a sophomore, Madej entered the meet as the youngest top seed class-wise with his 44.42 seed in this 100 event. Last year as a freshman he wound up 9th overall with a 45.84, so Madej has made major improvements in just one year.
Koethke made it happen in the 50, however, as the future Ohio State Buckeye crushed a new state record in the splash n’ dash event. 19.97 was what it took the Grove City swimmer to take the title, earning the only sub-20-second time of the field. With his effort, Koethke overtook the previous state record of 20.01 held by Ohio swimming legend Joe Hudepohl all the way back from 1991.
The 200 freestyle winner came in the form of Grant House, the St. X junior who is also a World Junior Record Holder from a Team USA relay performance over the summer. In Canton, House won the 200 freestyle race, registering a time of 1:36.93. Although he earned the repeat win, the junior was quicker last year with his 1:35.28 winning time.
House doubled up on his 2free victory, claiming the top prize in the 500 freestyle event in 4:24.61, beating the field by over 3 seconds. House’s teammate, junior Luke Sobolewski earned the win in the 100 butterfly, touching in 48.57 to beat 2nd and 3rd place Brecksville swimmers of Mark Krusinski (48.72) and Matthew Martin (49.07).
A tight battle ensued in the men’s 200 IM event, where two seniors wound up finishing just .04 of a second apart. Vandalia Butler’s Tommy Cope came out as the winner over Moeller’s Cooper Hodge, with the boys scoring times of 1:47.24 and 1:47.30, respectively. In prelims, however, Hodge earned a new state record with a time of 1:46.58, so he still has bragging rights when it comes to the record books.
Cope also wound up winning the 100 breaststroke race, topping the field in a time of 54.87, the only sub-55 mark of the final.
On the women’s side, three different teams won the 3 relay events, spreading points across the competition. After suffering a DQ in the 200 medley relay, where Walsh Jesuit wound up winning in a time of 1:44.56, the Upper Arlington women battled back and claimed the state title in the 200 freestyle relay. The foursome of Erin Sheehan, Anna Linzell, Dakota Elliott and Katie Trace scored the win in a time of 1:34.07.
But, the Bears couldn’t overcome the Mason squad of Gabby Marinelli, Abby Esler, Allison Bloebaum and Ashley Volpenhein who combined to win the 400 freestyle relay in a time of 3:24.25.
Mason’s Volpenhein repeated as 50 and 100 freestyle state champion, winning both events again in Canton. Volpenhein topped the field in a time of 22.73 in the splash n’ dash, while taking the top prize in the 100 with her mark of 49.43. Of note, Volpenhein’s 100 free prelims time was faster, as the junior scored a new state record with her morning swim of 48.96.
Upper Arlington got the upper hand in two individual events as well, in the form of Katie Trace’s 200 freestyle victory in a time of 1:47.23 and Erin Sheehan’s 100 butterfly field-topping time of 54.25. Sheehan came into the meet as one of two Upper Arlington top seeds, where she sat as the #1 butterflier with a mark of 53.93, so she was slightly off her best with the 54.25.
Walsh Jesuit’s Hanna Gresser also took home two wins, claiming state titles in the 100 breaststroke event in a time of 1:01.52, as well as the 200 IM in a mark of 2:00.14. Gresser’s 100 breaststroke time set a new state record, surpassing the 1:01.87 she registered in prelims.
Upper Arlington’s Hannah Caldwell had entered the meet as the top seed in the 100 breaststroke, holding a time of 1:02.17 as just a sophomore. She settled for 2nd behind Gresser, however, clocking a 100 breast mark of 1:01.85, a time which also dipped under Gresser’s swift prelims record.