Achieving Excellence: Breck/Blake Swim & Dive Team Takes State Title
For the past three years, the Breck/Blake Boys Swim and Dive team has placed a bitter second at the state meet. Second to St. Thomas Academy, who has held the title for the past five years.
But this year was different. This year the team was ready to compete for the top spot and weren’t willing to give it up to the reigning state champs.
“We knew at the beginning of the season that [winning] could be a possibility,” says assistant boys swim coach Michelle Carlson. Carlson has coached with head coach Kris Rosenberg from Blake for the past nine years.
Knowing St. Thomas was going to be tough to beat, the team worked hard early in the season to test the depth of their team.
“During our dual meet with St. Thomas in January we really womped them,” says Carlson. “It came down to the last two events and we really took them.” The meet ended in a victory for the Breck/Blake team but also lit a fire within both teams as they headed into the late winter meets.
The two teams met again later at the true team state meet, this time with St. Thomas taking the victory. With one win on each side, the two teams headed into the state meet March 2-4 ready for a hardy competition.
“That meet was really won on Friday,” says Carlson, referring to the swimmers performances during prelims. “We were swimming, just as one of our seniors would say, with the heart of a lion. They wanted that weekend to continue and they knew what they wanted at the end of the results — first.”
And first was what they achieved. Ending the meet with a total of 349.5 points, the Breck/Blake swimmers beat second-place St. Thomas Academy by 61 points.
“It makes me exceptionally proud,” says Carlson. “To see the hard work that they put in at practice, especially during those hard sets when they want to relax. They know why and it paid off. They were elated.”
These swimmers from two seemingly-rival schools not only have a title to be proud of, they have made friendships to last a lifetime.
“People think we are such rivals but we’re really not,” Carlson explains. “We as coaches don’t look at it as 'you’re a Breck student and you’re a Blake student.' They are swimmers, divers, they are part of the team, and they are family.”
During the end-of-season-banquet, senior Will Grassle of the Blake School, articulated what it meant to him to be a member of the “Bearstang” community. He writes:
“Being a Bearstang is about waiting in the water for everyone to finish their race. Being a Bearstang is about the brotherhood and the friends I have made over the last three years. Being a Bearstang is about pushing each other to do our best in practice and in meets. And most importantly being a Bearstang is about having heart.”
In addition to a state title, the team also has four new records made over the course of the season to be proud of as well.
Anderson Breazeale ’19, Shane Foster-Smith (Blake), Spencer Pruett (Blake), and Julian Frerichs ’18 broke the Medley Relay school record with an overall time of 1:34.52. Dylan Brown ’19, Will Grassle (Blake), Everett Pruett (Blake), and Luke Hamlin ’19 took the 400 Freestyle Relay record with a time of 3:09.22. Dylan Brown ’19 set the new 100 Freestyle record with a time of 47.00. Earlier in the season, Davis Harrington ’17 broke the six dive record, which was set in 1990.
Congratulations, Breck/Blake Boys Swim and Dive, on your successful season. We are proud of you!
To view the results of the state meet, click here.
Photo credit: ClickIt! Lauren Kiesel Photography