Southwest Ohio Swimming, Diving Classic continues to grow

Credit: Michael Cooper

Credit: Michael Cooper

The 39th Southwest Ohio High School Swimming and Diving Classic will feature two new events during its two-day competition at 13 different sites on Saturday and Sunday. The Southwest Ohio Swimming Officials Association (SOSOA), which started the event back in 1984, has added Para swimming events in the 50-yard freestyle and 100 backstroke.

“The (Ohio High School Athletic Association) added Para events two years ago, and we decided to follow suit,” long-time meet co-director Tom Schoborg said.

“We don’t always come up with something new every year,” he added. “Over the years, we’ve added junior varsity events and longer events. The meet has been designed to be welcoming to all levels of swimmers. A lot of swimmers don’t make the finals, but they get to have the experience of swimming in front of large crowds.”

That the Classic continues to grow is not surprising. What started as a one-site event at Keating Natatorium on the campus of St. Xavier High School in Greater Cincinnati’s Springfield Township has grown to include diving preliminaries at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday at four sites, including Miami University and Trotwood-Madison High School. Swimming preliminaries are set for 9 a.m. Saturday at 11 sites, including the Dayton Raider Aquatic Center, Countryside YMCA, Miami, Trotwood-Madison, the Washington Township Rec Center and West Carrollton YMCA.

Diving finals are scheduled for 11 a.m. Sunday at West Clermont High School. Swimming finals are set for 6:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Keating Natatorium.

The Classic is expected to draw 2,450 swimmers and 156 divers from 106 schools, helping it to maintain its status as the largest invitational of its kind in the country, according to meet officials. St. Xavier will be trying to capture its 39th consecutive boys championship, while St. Ursula will be trying for a second consecutive girls title.

Among “names to watch” during the event, according to the meet release, are Beavercreek’s Caleb Manning and Luke Sullivan, Bishop Fenwick’s John Kaleta, Centerville’s James Jauch, Oakwood’s Tristan Prizler, Valley View’s Jameson Cooke, Ross’ Cooper Bent, Lakota East’s A.J. Gomez, Lakota West’s Nick Pytlinski, Springboro’s Max Christensen, Kenton Ridge’s Evan Blazer and Chase Fyffe and Troy Christian’s Caleb Reno.

Girls to watch include Beavercreek’s Chloe Otten and Abby Woolford, Centerville’s Anna Gearhart, Miami Valley’s Katelyn Smittle, Oakwood’s Lily Epley, Fairfield’s Alivia Scott, Alter’s Annie and Ella Liebold and Ava and Emma Tenhundfeld, Miamisburg’s Anna Newkirk, Talawanda’s Maren Patterson and Tippecanoe’s Abigale Haas and Alex Voisard.

While Schoborg and his co-directors, Claudia Multer and Jeff Campbell, and the SOSOA are proud of the Classic’s growth, they are equally as thrilled that it’s allowed the group, led by Pat Lunsford, to create a scholarship program that now is in its 11th year. They awarded six $750 scholarships in 2022 to six seniors, including Kenton Ridge’s Matthew Mayhan and Seth Thomas and Lakota East’s Katie Jessee.

Schoborg admitted that helping pull together the details of staging an event of this magnitude has its ups and downs.

“Some days, it’s no fun at all,” he said. “Other days, it’s a lot of fun, especially the culmination of watching the swimmers compete and seeing them get their best times in events they don’t usually get to swim. The final part is the scholarship program. That part is fun.

“Proud is not a good description,” he added. “Just being part of it is fulfilling. Seeing swimmers from years ago, and now we’re seeing their children. The exciting part is being able to keep this going for so long. It’s like each site is running its own invitational and they’re reporting the results to command central.

“There are a lot of people working to make this happen. My name is on there as meet manager, but I can’t do this myself. A lot of people are needed to make this happen, and they’re all volunteers.”

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