The Boys Swim Team Takes on the IHSA State Competition


Benet Academy

(Left to Right) Jack Hansen, Jack Larson, Jake Yuknis, and Brendan Smith pose with their medals

On February 24, four Redwing swimmers competed in the IHSA State Championship Competition Prelims. After their previous victory in their Sectional Championship, four boys, seniors Brendan Smith, Jack Larson, Jack Hansen, and junior Jake Yuknis, with alternates sophomore Aiden Hulett and freshman Sam Larson, had state qualifying times in numerous events. On the Thursday before the competition, the boys were cheered through the halls of Benet Academy, where they would soon advance to FMC Natatorium in Westmont that following day. 

The first event welcomed the four Redwings in the 4 x 50 200-yard medley relay. Yuknis had a strong start in backstroke, followed by Smith in breaststroke, Hansen in Butterfly, and Larson in free. The Redwings placed seventh with an ending time of 1:35.53. In event four, senior Jack Larson raced for the fastest, the 50-yard freestyle. After a close race, Larson finished in 4th with a time of 21.00. Next, in the 100-yard freestyle, Larson took off again and finished at 46.03. Larson advanced to the Saturday State Finals to compete in the 100 free, finishing eighth.

Later in the meet, Brendan Smith competed in the 100-yard breaststroke event with a substantial launch and finished in an impressive first place with a time of 57:47. How did he do it? “I was feeling super excited after going for a personal best time and had the opportunity to compete at the highest level swimming provides,” says Smith. “After finishing the race, I saw I got 13th place, and only the top twelve go to finals, but I was thrilled to have been able to compete against some of the best kids in the state.”

To conclude the day, the boys competed in one last event, the 4 x 50 200-yard freestyle relay. Smith, Larson, Hansen, and Yuknis finished in fifth, ending time of 1:25.85, qualifying to compete at the Finals the following Saturday. At Finals, the boys swam their last race of the season, placing eleventh overall, and for the seniors was a bittersweet last race in high school. Head coach Nelly Musso made a comment about the seniors, “I don’t want them to disappear. My one wish is for them to stay connected to us, because they mean so much to the coaches and so much to the rest of the team. I hope for them to go out there and live an amazing life and keep them a part of ours!”

As the season concluded, the hard work and devotion of the team reflected countless individual triumphs, a Sectional Championship title, qualifying and contending in the IHSA State Finals, and connections lasting beyond the days of high school. The boys will celebrate their achievements the following Sunday at the team Banquet, honoring and recognizing their tremendous efforts throughout the season.