MUNSTER | The look in Munster senior Kevin Behrens' eyes before Friday's practice at Wilbur Wright Middle School told a story of determination.
Behrens -- well-recognized as one of the top high school swimmers in Indiana -- had the best season of his prep career as a junior. At the 2010 state meet, Behrens swam a leg in Munster's first-place 200-yard medley relay (1:33.30), won the 100 butterfly (48.46) and the 100 backstroke (49.51).
Behrens' efforts also helped the Seahorses amass 217 points, finishing 28 points behind team state champion Carmel.
"It felt really good to have a good state meet, especially after my sophomore year was a bit of a disappointment," Behrens said. "Everyone swam to the best of their ability that meet. Unfortunately, we just didn't have the manpower to beat Carmel."
Though the Seahorses lost some of the manpower that helped them perform so well at state last season -- namely Joe Wulf, Patrick Raycroft, John Gaskill and Murray Crabtree -- Behrens is eyeing a team state championship.
On a team that will feature mainly seniors with a bunch of up-and-coming sophomores thrown into the mix, Behrens knows he'll have to step up to bring the younger swimmers along quickly.
"I'll adjust into a leadership role, and we're really trying to find an identity for the team," he said. "Individually, I'd like to repeat (winning) both of my events and get two relays in the top spot."
Munster coach Matt Pavlovich is entering his third year as the Seahorses' coach. He has witnessed Behrens develop into a state-championship-caliber swimmer in that time period.
"In a lot of his events, he's the big dog," Pavlovich said. "He's team-oriented. As successful as he's been individually, he always believes in an overall team concept. He's always willing to swim different events for us. I can't say enough good things about him."
Perhaps the most relieving feeling going into Behrens' senior season was the fact that he recently signed to swim at Auburn, one of the top collegiate swimming programs in the country. With that out of the way, Behrens can focus solely on this season.
"I was going on recruiting trips almost every weekend, so now I can focus on the team here and being a normal kid," he said. "It was a huge weight off my shoulders."
For now, Behrens will take a team state title over anything else.
"I think about it all the time," he said. "We haven't been able to do that in 30 years. That's definitely the main goal."