With the Ohio High School State Championship meet on the horizon, scheduled for February 24-27th at C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton, speculation is already brewing that one or more of the state’s longest-standing records may indeed go down by the time the meet is done and dusted.
St. Xavier of Cincinnati has a storied history of state title-winning stretches dating back to the 1970s, with the latest consecutive championship trophies being brought back to the Bombers from 2009 – 2015. Among the storied athletes to have attended and competed for St. X is two-time Olympic freestyler, Joe Hudepohl.
Before earning 3 Olympic medals across 2 Games as a relay swimmer, Hudepohl was breaking records back in Ohio, 3 of which still stand today. Hudepohl still holds the state’s 50, 100 and 200 freestyle records, with the former two having been set in 1992 and the latter 200m standing since 1991.
|200 Yard Freestyle||1:34.96||Joe Hudepohl, Cincinnati St. Xavier||Canton||1991|
|50 Yard Freestyle||:20.01||Joe Hudepohl, Cincinnati St. Xavier||Canton||1992|
|100 Yard Freestyle||:43.43||Joe Hudepohl, Cincinnati St. Xavier||Canton||1992|
We were lucky enough to get our hands on the footage of that remarkable 200 freestyle swim from 1991. As interesting as it is to take in what swimming as a sport looked like back in 1991, complete with jammer-less swimmers and wedgeless blocks, it’s also just as remarkable that Hudepohl touched almost four seconds ahead of his competitors in a final time of 1:34.96 – a mark which impressively would have placed within the top 16 at even last year’s NCAA Division I Men’s Championships.
Threatening the Hudepohl 200 crown, however, is St. Xavier junior Grant House, a freestyle specialist who has also seen success in the shorter 100 and 50 distances as well. As a sophomore for the Bombers last year, House already made a name for himself winning both the 200 and 100 freestyle races to claim two state titles in times of 1:35.28 and 44.79, respectively.
House’s name may also sound familiar as the Cincinnati native was the anchor of the Junior World Record-setting U.S. 800m freestyle relay at last summer’s FINA World Junior Championships in Singapore. The relay went on to win a gold medal and give House some valuable international racing experience.
Most recently at the 2016 Southwest Ohio Swimming and Diving Classic last month, House clocked a monster 1:37.91 200 freestyle to crush Hudepohl’s 1992 meet record of 1:39.43, perhaps foreshadowing what may take place in Canton come States.
House needs to drop a very doable .33 of a second to overtake Ohio legend Hudepohl’s record in the 200 to write his name into St. X and the state of Ohio’s history books.