Athlete of the Week: Louis Behnen

Bri Pomonis, Sports Co-Editor

As the career of swimming and diving veteran Louis Behnen ’17 comes to a close, he leaves behind an incredible legacy of continued excellence in and out of the pool.

Like most children, Behnen started swimming lessons at a very young age. At just nine years old, his coach saw nothing but untapped potential and encouraged him to take his talent to a competitive front. Behnen cites his coach’s advice as a major turning point in his swimming career; he has swam year-round ever since, and has grown to love the sport more with every season.

When asked about his greatest influences, Behnen unsurprisingly mentions his coaches, ranging from when he was nine to his final college season.

“Not only did they help guide me in the right direction to help me achieve my goals, but they also helped to set the standard necessary for the pursuit of excellence in this sport,” Behnen said.

His multiple accolades and accomplishments serve as testimony to how far he has come. Behnen closed out an impressive high school career by being named 2013 All-Metro Missouri Swimmer of the Year. This would only be a glimpse of what was to come. As a first-year, Behnen completed three top-five finishes at Patriot League Championships and broke two long-course meters school records at USA Swimming Junior Nationals in 2014.

Behnen’s success didn’t stop there. His next three years saw him crush school records in the 500-yard freestyle, 400-yard freestyle relay, and 200-yard freestyle, and earn top-five program titles in an astounding six events. On a larger scale, his drive and will to succeed have earned him a spot on the First Team All-Patriot League every year, and both Patriot League Swimmer of the Week and Patriot League Academic Honor Roll three times each.

However, the titles are not what has made this experience worth the thousands of hours invested.

“The biggest thing I’ve been able to appreciate is the process of the entire career. All of the morning practices, all of the lifts, all of the insane workouts, all of the meets and the performances … I think the best memories from them all will be the friendships I’ve gained throughout. It’s of course an amazing accomplishment to have all the various accolades and wins and so on, but eventually those will sort of fade into memory. It’ll be the moments that you were truly invested in with your teammates and yourself that will last a lifetime,” Behnen said.

As for what’s after his career as a Bison, Behnen has no plans to continue swimming, but will never close the door for that possibility. Swimming has certainly left its mark and will always be carried with him beyond the pool.

“Swimming has definitely been relatable to character and maturation because of how emotionally charged it is as a sport. Things don’t always go the way you want them to in swimming. We put in 20 or so hours a week for training, countless miles of swimming back and forth in a pool, and being able to get up and stay focused even after something doesn’t go the way you wanted it to is a life lesson that I hope I will maintain afterwards,” Behnen said.

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