When it comes to the Southwest Ohio High School Swimming & Diving Classic, quantity and quality are equally evident.
The “Classic” remains the largest swimming invitational of its kind in the country with 3,000 participating high school swimmers. And they are among the best swimmers in the state, including both the Division I boys and girls state championship teams in St. Xavier and Mason, respectively.
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The mega-meet — that started at a single site with 400 competitors 36 years ago — gets underway Saturday at 10 preliminary sites scattered around Southwest Ohio.
Here are five things to know about the premier high school swim meet:
1. Quantity: An estimated 3,000 swimmers and 125 divers from 118 schools are expected to compete in this year's event. As the event has grown, so too has the number of sites. Swimming prelims will be held at Countryside YMCA, Dayton Raider Aquatic Center, Miami University, Mason, Milford, Princeton and Trotwood-Madison high schools, Washington Township Recreation Center and the West Carrollton YMCA with finals at St. Xavier High School's Keating Natatorium. Diving prelims will be held at Miami University, Mason, Milford and Trotwood-Madison with the finals at the University of Cincinnati.
But it’s not just the swimmers that are in abundance as hundreds of volunteers are utilized for this two-day event.
2. Quality: This meet doesn't just bring together a lot of swimmers, it brings together a lot of talented swimmers. Last year, 86 Classic competitors placed in the top 10 in their respective events at the boys state meets – D-I and D-II – and Southwest District swimmers won half of the boys individual and relay events. On the girls side, Southwest District swimmers tallied 80 top 10 state finishes in D-I and D-II events.
It’s a pattern of success. Swimmers from the Southwest District hold 25 of the 36 state meet records.
3. Variety: Unlike traditional high school meets, the Classic includes longer NCAA and USA Swimming events – such as the 400-yard individual medley and the 1,650-yard freestyle – as well as shorter events – the 50-yard breaststroke, butterfly and backstroke – geared toward less experienced swimmers.
“The JV events are designed to try and bring in and give some excitement to swimmers who have not participated in this type of event before,” meet co-director Tom Schoborg said.
4. Dominance: From Day 1, the St. Xavier Bombers have been the team to beat on the boys side and are vying for a 36th consecutive Classic team title. The Mason girls are looking to make it four in a row this year.
5. Scholarships: First-place finishers aren't the only ones who are recognized for excellence at the Classic as proceeds from the event have translated into more than $50,000 in scholarships over the years. Six seniors will each be awarded a $750 scholarship. Awards are based on success in the classroom and service to the community as well as participation in the meet.
“The recipients are pretty impressive,” Schoborg said. “I don’t know how they have time to sleep with all of the things they do.”
For more information or Classic results, visit www.swimmeet.com.
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