Munster’s Wilson Beckman made quite a splash at his first sectional last year.
Then a freshman, Beckman won the 200-yard individual medley at sectional (1:58.84) and came in second place in the 200 medley relay, the 100 back, and the 400 free relay.
So one would think his satisfaction level would have been pretty high.
“Actually, I didn’t think I did very well, time-wise,” Beckman said. “I think I could have, should have, had better times. I wasn’t too happy with my results.”
So Beckman spent the offseason perfecting his craft. He has been both a pool rat and gym rat for the past six months, getting himself in shape to improve on last year’s results.
“Wilson has spent a lot of time in the weight room during the offseason,” coach Matt Pavlovich said. “He has been working very hard to get himself built up. As a freshman, he competed against boys who were not only older but much bigger. He’s doing what he can to shrink that gap.”
Beckman has concentrated on his leg work more than anything else.
“I wanted to be able to push off stronger,” he explained. “I also want to be able to kick stronger and not just rely on my arms. I used my arms last year to compensate for my legs, and I would tire towards the end of a race.”
Beckman has also been working on his turnarounds in the pool.
“I need to do a much better job of turning and keeping my pace,” Beckman said. “I was losing precious time on the turns.”
Pavlovich is more excited by Beckman’s attitude than he is the actual work.
“Don’t get me wrong, I am glad he is working hard,” Pavlovich said. “But what I think is really great is that he came back from such a great sectional showing determined to work even harder. That makes a great example for all of the other swimmers on the team. He isn’t satisfied to rest on his laurels. He used the experience to see what he needed to improve.”
Even though the Seahorses had won 26 consecutive sectionals, the thinking last year was that they may not make it No. 27. But the team pulled it off, winning again and then placing No. 46 in the state.
Beckman said that the team is aware they were not considered the favorite, and carry that chip on their shoulder this season.
“We intend to erase any doubt out there on who is sectional champ,” Beckman said.
Beckman will still swim the backstroke this year, but may not defend his title in the IM.
“Coach is talking about moving me to another individual event,” Beckman said. “We may try the 200 or the 500 free, or both. I am OK with swimming wherever I help the team the most.”
As an age group swimmer, Beckman won state in the 100 free, so it’s not like the event is foreign to him.
“I like the free events a lot,” he said. “The distance doesn’t matter so much to me. Like I said, I want to help the team get a top 15 finish. I think we could do that.”
Pavlovich believes he has a valuable asset in Beckman.
“Wilson can swim anything except maybe the breaststroke,” Pavlovich said. “And what I mean is that he could swim any of the other events and win.”
Two years ago, the Seahorses took a big graduation hit that led to speculation about repeating last year. Now, a new crop of young guns are powering the team back to the top.