February 22nd, 2020

Cole leads St.X to 32nd straight state swim title

Block_eric thorne

Eric Thorne

Staff Writer

Cole leads St.X to 32nd straight state swim title
The St. X Tigers are the 2020 state champion swim team/photo from @StXTigerSwim

LEXINGTON, Ky – Will Cole was the first to enter the pool and the last to exit, and in the end, he made quite the splash as he walked away with four state swimming championships including two state records.

His feats helped St. Xavier claim its 56th state championship at the 2020 Parnell Swim Shop/KHSAA State Swimming and Diving Championship at the University of Kentucky Natatorium on Saturday.

The Tigers have won every state title since 1998, a span of 32 years, and are tied with The Bolles School in Jacksonville, Fl. for the nation’s  longest active state championship streak.

“It means a lot to carry on the tradition and to finish my career with four consecutive state titles,” Cole said. “Before coming to St. X all I wanted to do was to win a state championship and that’s exactly what we did.”

St. X took the team title with 592 points and were followed by Highlands (193), Trinity (153), Bowling Green (132) and Paul Laurence Dunbar (106).

The Tigers opened by winning the 200-medley relay in behind Cole, Connor Kang, Holden Smith and Ethan Highley in a state record time of 1:28.96. Kang has been on the winning relay three of his four years and Cole grabs his second title.

In the 200 freestyle Elizabethtown’s John Hayes took the title after finishing third in 2019 with the Tigers Jack Anderson placing second and Cooper Tyler in fourth.

Hayes, a sophomore, repeated as champion in the 500 freestyle in 4:26.37 with Anderson just behind in second (4:28.24).

It was a pool of Tigers in the 200 IM with St. X grabbing four of the top five spots, including Smith touching in first (1:47.62) and Kang just behind him at 1:47.91. Will Scholtz was fourth and Kenton Whitley fifth. Kang was the defending champion.

Smith, a junior and Alabama commit, would finish with three titles on the night.

The 50 freestyle was won by Mac Russell of Highlands, followed by Alex Brehm of Collegiate and Luke Shrouds of Greenwood.

Smith, the reigning champion in the 100 butterfly, hit the wall first again in 48.01 leading a Tiger sweep ahead of Luke Thomas (48.97) and Jackson Mussler (49.33).

Cole, a University of Virginia commit, notched his second title of the night winning the 100 freestyle in 43.61 and Tyler placed third in 46.69.

He followed with a repeat title in the 100-backstroke breaking his own state record time he set earlier in the day in the preliminaries finishing in 46.92. Kaleb Brannock of Scott County was second (48.62) and the Tigers Charlie Crush was third (48.78).

“I am very grateful for breaking two state records in one night and being the only swimmer to do it,” Cole said. “I believed that I would be able to break the state record in the 100 back but didn’t honestly know by how much.”

The Tigers claimed the 200-freestyle relay with Luke Thomas, Kang, Mussler and Highley clocking a 1:24.06. Kang was on the winning relay team as a sophomore.

Kang, a senior and Yale commit, improved on his third-place finish from last year and just missed winning the 100 breaststroke by .09 seconds and touching a mere .01 of a second ahead of Brehm.

“We as seniors wanted to leave an unforgettable legacy for the St. X program,” Cole said. “Going into the season we wanted to be the best team to ever come through the school’s program and we believe we accomplished that goal.”

Cole wrapped up his career teaming with Smith, Anderson and Thomas to claim the 400 free relay in 3:00.47. Cole has anchored the winning relay team all four years as a Tiger.

Trinity’s foursome of Trent Kolter, Caleb Mullikin, Christopher Scheuring and Cole Gilkey placed third in 3:14.30.

“Winning the 400 free relay all four years at St. X is something I truly would never have imagined before coming here,” Cole said. “It’s an honor for me to represent St. X on this relay team for four years and even better to win a state title on each of them for the team.”


Recent Articles