3,000-plus swimmers, divers expected to compete in ‘Classic’

Maggie Clough, Springboro

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Maggie Clough, Springboro

From personal best times to podium-topping performances, the Southwest Ohio High School Swimming & Diving Classic doesn’t disappoint.

In its 37th year, the “Classic” remains the largest swimming invitational of its kind in the country with 3,000-plus participating high school swimmers and divers. It’s about more than quantity, however, as the quality is apparent with defending Division I state champions St. Xavier and Mason among the close to 120 schools participating.

»RELATED: Wednesday’s high school roundup

“Very often, we have several teams from the district finish in the top 10 at the state meet,” Classic co-director Tom Schoborg said.

Schoborg, whose children swam for Oak Hills several years ago, has been a part of the mega-meet for decades.

“It’s a lot of fun for the swimmers and there’s a lot of energy on the deck,” he said. “But it’s also a great way to see how you stack up against the competition in the district.”

What can competitors and fans expect as the Classic gets underway Saturday? Something for everyone.

• Quantity: What started as a single-site invitational with 400 competitors has grown to more than 3,000 swimmers and divers competing at 10 preliminary sites throughout Southwest Ohio.

Swimming prelims will be held at Countryside YMCA, the 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 each night. Diving prelims will be held at Miami University, Mason, Milford and Trotwood-Madison with the finals held at the University of Cincinnati.

• Quality: This meet doesn't just bring together a lot of swimmers, it brings together many of the best swimmers in the state. Last year, 66 Classic competitors placed in the top 10 in their respective events at the boys Division I and II state meets. Southwest District swimmers, in fact, won 11 of the 12 individual and relay events in the D-I boys state competition. On the girls side, Southwest District swimmers tallied 60 top 10 state finishes in D-I and D-II state competition.

It’s a long-standing pattern of success as Southwest District swimmers currently hold 25 of the 36 state meet records.

• Variety: Unlike traditional high school meets, the Classic includes longer NCAA and USA Swimming events – 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 allow swimmers who otherwise wouldn’t be able to compete in a meet like this to have a chance to make the finals,” Schoborg said.

• Dominance: From Day 1, the St. Xavier Bombers have been the ones to beat and are vying for a 37th consecutive team title. The Mason girls are looking to make it five in a row this year.

• Scholarships: First-place finishers aren't the only ones who are recognized for excellence at the Classic. The Southwest Ohio Swimming Officials Association established an athlete scholarship fund that will award six seniors – three girls and three boys – with $750 scholarships this weekend. Awards are based on success in the classroom and service to the community as well as participation in the meet.

“I don’t know how these kids do all that they do,” Schoborg said. “It’s very impressive.”

For more information on the Classic or to view results, visit www.swimmeet.com.

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