Receiving 52 points at the State meet for Class 1 boys swimming and diving, the Falcons placed 14th out of 36 teams on Nov. 14 at St. Peters Rec-Plex.
Coach Lucas Benson said he feels the team did incredibly well at the competition despite the COVID-19 pandemic interfering with the season.
“The team was brilliant at State on Saturday. They handled the Covid procedures well. We out-performed on all our relays as well as setting a new school record in the 200 free relay. It was fantastic,” Benson said.
In the 200 free relay, the Falcons swam a time of 1:32.04, breaking the school’s record and finishing 12th at the competition. Benson said the State competition was the perfect chance for the relay to come together and focus, giving the athletes an opportunity to succeed.
“I think we needed a big event like this to bring some excitement and adrenaline to the event. All season, we just couldn’t put all the puzzle pieces together,” Benson said. “State seemed to focus each athlete a bit in that 200 free relay, which consisted of junior Gabe Cusanelli and seniors Alex Luaders, Zack Swayne, and Jacob Oetjen.”
Oetjen medaled after placing 8th in the 500 freestyle, and finished 9th in the 200 free with a time of 1:48.24. Oetjen said although he did not feel his State performance reflected his personal best, the rest of the team was successful.
“I am very unhappy with how I performed. I felt like I was ready to compete, I just wasn’t swimming smart enough. However I’m very proud about how the rest of the team did at State. They all swam their best times and we were able to place really high in our relays,” Oetjen said.
Oetjen said Covid interfering with the meet schedules meant the team did not receive the normal opportunities they would have to grow, but they still put in the work at practice to perform at State.
“It took a lot of practice to be able to place at State. It was difficult being able to get State cuts without having conference or any other big meets,” Oetjen said. “Overall it is kind of sad that high school season is over, but I’m just thankful for all the memories we made as a team.”
Benson said State was a great learning experience for the team which allowed the boys to encourage each other to compete to their best abilities.
“I think it helped bring our athletes together a bit and solidify support between each other. They motivated each other with great swims in a unique experience such as the state meet,” Benson said.