Rockhurst’s Behnen characterizes the All-Metro Missouri boys swimming and diving team
The Kansas City Star
Despite coaching a sport built around relative numbers, Rockhurst swimming coach Pete Winkeler says he tries to avoid comparisons.
Well, at least some of them.
For example: Rather than using a psych sheet to calculate possible team scores heading into the state meet each fall — the best way for teams to judge how they compare to their peers — the Rockhurst swimmers simply focus on their own improvement.
The psych sheet, which is essentially a list of state qualifiers, would have been useless this season anyway. Winkeler didn’t need to glance at anything to come to this obvious conclusion: If the Hawklets were to repeat as state champions and earn their ninth consecutive title, a couple of things would need to swing their way.
Luckily, they had senior Louis Behnen on their side.
Behnen won the 500-yard freestyle, placed second in the 200 freestyle and was part of fourth-place and fifth-place relay teams, providing a boost that sent Rockhurst to the top of the podium for a ninth straight season.
After completing his second year with Rockhurst following his family’s move from New York City, Behnen is The Star’s All-Metro Missouri swimmer of the year.
“He’s a very efficient swimmer — it looks effortless when he swims,” Winkeler said. “There’s not a motion in his body that’s wasted. I think the element he’s added this year is he understands he’s swimming for the team, not just himself.”
When his team needed him, he certainly delivered, casting aside midseason doubt that Parkway Central would end the Rockhurst swimming dynasty.
An endurance swimmer, Behnen said he realized at age 12 he was suited for distance events rather than sprints, so he adjusted his training to suit his strengths.
It produced dividends this season. In the Springfield Invitational in mid-October, Behnen, completed the 500 freestyle in 4 minutes, 32.35 seconds. The swim broke the meet record, the pool record and the team record.
He one-upped himself a month later at the Missouri state meet in St. Peters, swimming the 500 freestyle in 4:29.05.