Cincinnati St. Xavier swim coach Jim Brower marks this weekend on his calendar because he knows what’s at stake for the Bombers in the annual Southwest Ohio High School Swimming and Diving Classic. Starting Saturday morning, 112 schools with over 2,900 swimmers and 160 divers are expected to participate in this year’s Classic. The 26th annual meet is billed as the largest invitational of its kind in the country.
Cincinnati St. Xavier swim coach Jim Brower marks this weekend on his calendar because he knows what’s at stake for the Bombers in the annual Southwest Ohio High School Swimming and Diving Classic.
Starting Saturday morning, 112 schools with over 2,900 swimmers and 160 divers are expected to participate in this year’s Classic. The 26th annual meet is billed as the largest invitational of its kind in the country.
Meet officials said this year will bring a record number of participants – more than 400 more than last year. The meet is so large the preliminaries are held at seven locations for the 19th year. The swimming finals are set for 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at St. X, while diving finals are Sunday morning at the University of Cincinnati.
For Brower, who has led the Bombers to nine state titles the past 10 years, the meet holds plenty of significance. Brower, who led the Bombers to a national title last season (National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association) said the meet is very challenging and presents a tough test.
“(The meet) is the number one indicator of whether or not we’re tough enough to make a run at a state title, so we are definitely eager to fare well,” Brower said.
St. X, which will almost certainly be represented at the state meet Feb. 25-28 at Canton’s C.T. Branin Natatorium, has won 25 consecutive Classic titles. This year, the Bombers will be among the favorites again but will face a tough test with Moeller and Centerville.
Among the leaders for St. X are seniors Will Lawley (50, 100 free, 100 back), Matt Columbus (200 free), Evan Schwartz and diver Mason Meier. Juniors Sam Lipari (100 breaststroke, 200 IM, 100 fly and Alex Miller (500 free) have also contributed well so far this season.
“We need a lot of underclassmen to contribute this year as we have a very small senior class,” Brower said.
Other area names to watch, according to meet officials include: John Vigar, Cincinnati Anderson; Aaron Buchanan, Beavercreek; Ty Perkins and Travis Schieman, Centerville; Michael Hart and Stephen Koch, Lakota West; Jared Kolwyck and diver Stephen Sargent, Mason; Joe Albers and Michael Krone, Moeller; Jason Schnur, Oak Hills; Patrick McHugh, Springfield Catholic Central; Michael Murphy, Wyoming and Indian Hill diver Michael Grainger.
Cincinnati Ursuline will compete for its fifth consecutive girls’ title in the Classic. Ursuline coach Tim Beerman said the Lions area healthy again and competed well at the Big 8 Meet and Larry Lyons Invitational earlier this season.
“We expect this weekend’s competition to be very tough,” Beerman said. “The entire district gears up for this meet.”
Lynn Brotherton (100 fly), Cynthia Donovan (50 free), Breann McDowell (200 free, IM, 500 free) and Sydnee Eberly are names to watch for the Lions.
Mason, Centerville, Springboro and Sycamore should also be considered as some of the favorites. Mason is led by senior Mary Wunderle and junior Danielle Jansen, who won the state title in the 200 freestyle last season.
Other names, according to meet officials include: Julia Comodeca, Anderson; Lynsie Farrel, Arcanum; Eileen Shinsato, Batavia; Sarah Andrews, Molly Osterhage and Jessica Steible, Centerville; Kendra Bierman, Cincinnati Christian; Lauren Weaver, Colerain; Bekka Westrick, Fairfield; Katelyn Pratt-Collins, Greenville; Ally Stover, Alter; Abby Galbreath, Fairmont; Elizabeth Tabor and Ashley Yanzsa, Lakota East; Alexis Kain, Oak Hills; Dani Barbiea and Kellie Barbiea, Springboro; Lauren Funk, Springfield Kenton Ridge; Annie Currin and Casey Ridge, St. Ursula; Briana Conners, Alandra DiMasso and Alex Norris, Sycamore; Hanna Gaskins, Tippecanoe; Libby Hunsche, Turpin; Jamie Barrett, Vandalia Butler; Celia Oberholzer, Bryn Dunbar, Jane Tsivitse and diver Katrina Buckner, Wyoming; Molly Elkins and Jenna Korchinksi, Centerville; Sarah Pyles, CHCA.
The prelims start Saturday at various locations. For swimming, the starting time is 8 a.m. at Beavercreek YMCA, Countryside YMCA, Miami University, Mason, Milford and Trotwood-Madison.
The diving prelims start at 1 p.m. at Miami, Mason Community Center, Milford and Trotwood-Madison.
More info at swimmeet.com.