SPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- Grant House isn’t about chasing times anymore.
The standout St. Xavier High School senior swimmer on his way to Arizona State next year has spent his senior season focused on making his best effort to have the best possible swim each time he’s in the pool. If he does that, good times will come.
They sure did Saturday night when eight boys’ meet records fell at St. Xavier’s Keating Natatorium on the first night of finals in the Southwest Ohio Swimming and Diving Classic. Five of those records belonged to St. Xavier, including two individuals for House.
House broke his own meet record in the boys' 200 freestyle in 1:37.63, besting his 1:37.91 in 2016.
“It was definitely an exciting race for me,” House said. “I was really set on going after it. I wasn’t really focused on time. I just wanted to get up there and race. I know I had Cody (Bybee of Bellbrook) here next to me and Gordon (Wheeler of St. X) and some other swimmers, so I knew I had to race. I just wanted to go out there and put my best in the pool.”
House had beaten St. Xavier legend Joe Hudepohl's 1992 meet record in the 200 freestyle in at last year’s event, besting the Olympian’s time of 1:39.91. He was happy with it at the time, but was really focused on Hudepohl’s 1991 state record of 1:34.96 in the 200.
He hasn’t gotten it yet. But that’s not the focus anymore.
“Last year was a pretty disappointing year for me, the summer was also not the greatest, but over the fall I did some soul-searching,” House said. “But with the help of Coach (Tim) Beerman and the team, I’ve really gotten back to where I know where I can be and going into each day not knowing what’s possible.
"It gets me excited about the sport again and not having a certain time I have to get. Just going out there and racing and putting my best effort out there has really gotten me going fast again.”
He followed his 200 freestyle win with the meet record in the 200 breaststroke in 2:00.86, breaking Moeller alum Cooper Hodge’s 2014 record of 2:01.56. The senior was also on the 200 freestyle relay team that closed the night in a record time of 1:22.42, besting team's 2016 time of 1:24.66.
St. X junior Justin Grender set the meet record in the boys’ 50 freestyle in 20.73, besting Tippecanoe swimmer Elias Jay Bell’s 2016 record of 21.19. St. X senior Luke Sobolewski also beat Bell’s mark with a second-place time of 21.17. Grender’s seed time earlier in the day was even better 20.57.
“I didn’t really realize I had the record until after,” Grender said. “I didn’t know what the record was.”
Grender was on the 200 freestyle relay team with House, Sobolewski and senior Charles Leibson and was on the St. Xavier 400 medley relay team that destroyed its own meet record in 3:21.79, beating last year’s time of 3:24.76. Grender joined senior Dillon Froass, Sobolewski, and junior Nicholas Perera for that win.
“I was with three other seniors and we’ve been doing this for a while,” Grender said. “They’re used to it. I’m used to it. We just take the energy from each other.”
Mason junior Puran Kansakar won the 50 breaststroke in 27.94, beating Milford swimmer Dave Matulis’s 2011 record of 27.99.
“I was pretty shocked,” Kansakar said. “I wasn’t really prepared for that. I was pretty surprised.”
Senior Eric Knowles of Xenia Legacy Christian won the boys' 400 individual medley in a meet record 3:52.72, besting Hodge’s 2016 record of 3:54.07. Bybee broke his own record in the boys’ 100 butterfly in 48.55, besting his 2016 swim of 49.91.
St. X senior Christian Imbus won the boys' 500 freestyle in 4:41.83 as the Bombers went 1-3 in the event. St. X junior Sam Fallon was second at 4:41.93 and senior Gordon Wheeler was third at 4:42.05. Bellbrook junior John Sampson won the boys' 100 backstroke in 50.38.
Mariemont sophomore Cora Dupre won the girls' 200 freestyle in 1:50.27 and then the 50 freestyle in 23.38. She was also part of the Mariemont team that won the girls' 400 medley relay in 3:51.87 to open the evening. Dupre joined sophomore Kate Overbey, junior Brooke Woellert and sophomore Lainey Newman in the win.
Mason junior Allison Bloebaum won the girls' 500 freestyle in 5:00.30 and swam the third leg of the 200 freestyle relay that Mason won in 1:36.69, along with sophomores Harna Minezawa and Leanna Wall and senior Ashley Volpenhein.
Ursuline sophomore Megan Glass won the girls' 100 butterfly in 55.77 and Cincinnati Christian senior Payton Keiner won the girls' 100 backstroke in 55.62. Centerville sophomore Lauren Lampe won the girls' 50 breaststroke in 31.7, Greenville sophomore Isabella Gable won the girls' 400 individual medley in 4:26.70 and Springfield Shawnee senior Grace Seibert won the girls' 200 breaststroke in 2:22.83.