CINCINNATI – Keep "national champions" on the list of ways to describe the St. X swimming and diving team.
The AquaBombers took the top spot in the final 2016 National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association (NISCA) rankings, according to St. X coach Tim Beerman.
St. X garnered a school-record 6,397 points en route to its eighth NISCA crown. It is the 18th consecutive year the program finished in the top eight nationally. St. X also earned NISCA top rankings in 2015, 2008, 2007, 2003, 2002, 2001 and 1999.
“I am extremely proud for the swimmers, coaches and parents who made this happen,” Beerman told WCPO Wednesday afternoon. “It really does take a commitment from everyone.”
Beerman said the program has held off on hanging its 2016 Ohio Division I state title banner until it knew the results from NISCA. He said the national title shows the AquaBombers continue to develop some of the best swimmers in the nation year after year.
Southlake Carroll (Dallas, Texas) was second in the NISCA rankings with a total of 6,262.
St. X plans to have a formal recognition ceremony for the national and state titles possibly this fall or at its annual alumni meet, scheduled for Dec. 26.
St. X won the Division I state title in February at C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton with a state-meet record 398 points. It was the eighth consecutive state title and 37th overall for the program.
St. Xavier took the lead from the start of the state meet as the team of sophomore Justin Grender, junior Luke Sobolewski, junior Charles Leibson and sophomore Nicholas Perera won the 200 yard medley relay with a time of 1:30.40, breaking the previous state meet record of 1:31.67 set in 2011, according to the OHSAA.
St. Xavier junior Grant House won the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:36.93. St. X went on to win three more events including another record-setting performance in the 400 freestyle relay.
Sobolewski won the 100 butterfly, recording a time 48.57. House followed up with an individual victory of his own, winning the 500 freestyle with a time of 4:24.61.
The AquaBombers ended on a strong note in the 400 freestyle relay as the team of Grender, Leibson, House and senior Matt Slabe swam a state meet record time of 3:01.34.
All-American honors were also presented by NISCA. Eight St. X athletes were decorated for their achievements.
Justin Grender (sophomore), 200 medley relay, 100 backstroke, 200 freestyle relay, 400 freestyle relay.
Grant House (junior) 200 freestyle, 200 IM, 500 freestyle, 200 freestyle relay, 400 freestyle relay
Christian Imbus (junior), 500 freestyle
Charles Leibson (junior), 200 medley relay, 200 IM, 400 freestyle relay
Nick Perera (sophomore), 200 medley relay, 200 IM, 200 freestyle relay
Matt Slabe (senior), 200 freestyle, 200 freestyle relay, 400 freestyle relay
Luke Sobolewski (junior), 200 medley relay, 100 butterfly, 100 backstroke
Luke Van Gorp (junior), 100 breaststroke
In addition, fourteen seniors earned Academic All-American status: Austin Andwan, Michael Buescher, Drew Fitzgerald, Trevor Gerstner, Nate Jonas, Jack Osterman, Nate Plogmann, Jonathan Prangley, Nick Rotching, Adam Schutte, Matt Slabe, Aaron Taske, Nathan Wilson, Max Wimmel.
Special awards were also presented to members of the coaching staff. Head coach Tim Beerman was named G. C. L. and District Coach of the Year. Coach Jim Brower was inducted into the LaRosa’s High School Hall of Fame (along with 2001 grad Jayme Cramer). Coach Tom Keefe was the recipient of the “Respect of the Game of Life” award from St. Ursula Academy.