Of all the names of the recent state title winners at the Massachusetts Division I high school girls swimming state championship meet, one stood out. The new state champion of the boys 100-yard breaststroke event is C.J. Khosabjian. While C.J. can be an androgynous name, there was no question about the sex of this C.J., as made clear by the swimming suit that covered only the waist down.
In a girls state championship meet, Massachusetts decided to segregate the lone male swimmer, who competes alongside his female counterparts at a school that doesn't host a male swimming team. As a result, Billerica (Mass.) Memorial High's C.J. Khosabjian swam the 2012 Division I boys 100-yard breaststroke championship race by himself, against no competitors.
As reported by the Boston Globe, the official winning time of the race was 1:07.02. There was no time for a runner-up because there was no runner-up.
"I'm sure everyone [in the stands] was like, 'Wait, there's only one kid swimming? What's going on?'" Khoshabjian told the Globe. "It was weird, for sure.
"It's weird having everyone stare at you all at once. It's not as easy as I thought it was. It's a lot easier with someone beside you to pace you. But it worked out. I got one of my best times, so I'm pretty pumped about that."
As explained in greater detail by the Globe, Khoshabjian is essentially the guinea pig for a new Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association policy aimed at keeping boys from decimating existing girls state records. The policy change was brought on by a controversy in 2011 sparked by a record-setting girls performance by male swimmer Will Higgins, which was covered here at Prep Rally and other sources.
Now, the Division I girls swimming championships will have a lone male race and a one male champion as an addendum, a bizarre afterthought that led to one unique race with a particularly concerned Khoshabjian on the starting blocks.
"I had to worry about the start more," he said. "I kept freaking out thinking I was going to disqualify because I was the only one standing there."
It's a good thing the Billerica senior didn't disqualify himself. A DQ would have left the sole boys race without a state champion, which would have left a strange ghost race entry in the state record books after the fact.