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Monday, April 26, 2021

Highlands Boys Swimming, Diving Takes Another Runner-up Finish at State


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More state championship hardware is coming back to Fort Thomas. 

Highlands Senior Mac Russell won two individual state titles. Russell won the 50-yard Freestyle in 20.34 seconds and the 100 Free in 44.66. Both times earned All-American honors automatically and scoring a combined 40 points.

The Highlands Bluebirds Swimming and Diving teams scored 5.5 more points than last year when they won the combined state championship.

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But it meant just a third-place finish in the state championships held at different spots in the state as a result of Coronavirus 2019 precautions. The Bluebirds scored 210.5 points this year after scoring 205 last year. But two Lexington schools in Dunbar (240) and Henry Clay (226.5) took the top and runner-up spots respectively.

The Kentucky High School Athletic Association split the state meet into three locations this year. Highlands swam down at Union College in Barbourville located southeast of Corbin.

The Highlands boys took a second straight runner-up spot with 201.5 points. Louisville St. Xavier won it handily with 537 points.

"They swam great. We did everything that we could do," said Amanda Johnson, Highlands Head Coach. "Our swimmers had one of the best state meets that they've ever had. Being third in state in the combined is something to be proud of. We had 11 boys score points. That is phenomenal. We've never had that."

Senior Jack Banks placed second in the 100 Free in 44.94 seconds. That also earned All-American honors. Banks also took fourth in the 100 Breaststroke in 56.53 seconds.

Russell and Banks also helped the 200 and 400 Freestyle Relay teams finish second scoring 34 points each. The 200 Freestyle Relay team took the spot in 1:25.3 and the 400 Freestyle did it in 3:07.67. Both teams earned All-American consideration.

The other two members of the 200 Freestyle were seniors Will Griffith and Harrison Pawsat. Pawsat took 16th in the 100 Breaststroke in 1:01.33. The other two members of the 400 relay were Griffith and junior Sam Jones.

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Sam Jones placed fifth in the 500 Freestyle in 4:39.69. Sophomores Evan Jones and Adam Pawlak also placed in the event. Evan Jones took 15th in 4:55.10 and Pawlak tied for 16th in 4:55.95. The top 16 placers in each event score points. Pawsat, and Sam Jones also helped the 200 Medley Relay team take eighth in 39.02 along with sophomore Bode Russell and freshman Charlie Banks.

The other scoring came in the 200 Individual Medley race. Sophomore Matt Herfel and junior Benjamin Vaught placed 13th and 15th in 1:59.36 and 1:59.7. 

The Highlands girls finished tied for 30th with Lexington Sayre with nine points. Senior Lauren Groeschen scored those points in the one-meter diving with 345.6 points good for ninth.

"It's one of those things that when your numbers come and go. Some teams have more of a balance on both sides," Johnson said. "We have a lot more boys that score right now. In years to come, we could have that balance back again."

Sacred Heart ran away with the girls state championship with 407.5 points. Assumption took second with 173.

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