Franklin's Beck pulls double-duty and earns sixth in state diving
Fought off leg injury to lead team
If pressed, Franklin state placewinning diver August Beck will say he likes diving better than swimming, but he is getting pretty good at both.
Beck surprised the state field a bit by taking sixth in the WIAA State Division I meet at the Natatorium in Madison last Saturday, and he also turned in credible efforts in both the 50-yard freestyle and as a key part of the Sabers' very quick 200 free relay team.
Especially considering that he had to battle a fractured femur he suffered during the football season and was five weeks behind his teammates before he was cleared and could start working in the pool this winter.
"It was the first week in January before I could really get going," Beck said, "but I'm doing great right now. My first meet back was the South Milwaukee Invite (in early January). I won it last year and I won it again this year."
Beck said he didn't feel comfortable swimming in the pool until about the time of conference.
"…And there we swam our hearts out and won it (for the first-time effort)," he said. "When I look back on this whole thing (season) that's what I'll be most proud of. We all just picked up the slack. A real team effort."
Leading up to state
Sabers' coach Ross Lennertz remained impressed with Beck's work ethic, which included separate training events most every day with both the swimmers and the divers.
In fact, despite three strong efforts last Saturday, Beck was not fully satisfied with things.
"Actually, my goal at the beginning of the year was to go to state in four events, diving and three swimming events," he said. The Sabers' 400 free relay came up just a little short of qualifying at sectional Feb. 9.
But the junior Beck can be proud of the fact that he helped sophomore fellow diver Andy Schauer overcome his state jitters and turn in a credible 10th place showing of 339.05 points. Beck earned his spot with a 364.0 total as Southeast Conference champion Andrew Suchla of Racine Park set a new state record with a mark of 563.45.
Beck said that he nailed dives six through eight on his program and that's what moved him up into medal position. Those efforts were what allowed him to survive what he called a "muffed" effort on his last dive.
Meanwhile, he competed hard in the 50 and was close to his sectional best time with a 20th place effort of 22.57 seconds.
Then he and the 200 free relay took a mighty whack at the now-graduated Josh Lefeber fueled school record of a year ago. It came up short, but still turned in a season-best 15th place effort of 1:31.12, as seniors Sam Karolewicz, Austin Koska, and Takuto Kobayashi and the junior Beck on the anchor all improved.
Lennertz was happy with the efforts.
"State went very well this weekend," he said. "Our divers were outstanding. …I know Laura (diving coach Citro) is very excited to be having both of them coming back next year.
"As for the swimming portion, it went well," Lennertz continued. "We had aspirations of re-breaking the school record from last year in the 200 free relay, but missed it by about half a second. August swam well in his 50 free. He had a good start, but stayed underwater a little too long on his first lap. Without that I think he would have broken 22 seconds or been darn close."
All-in-all not bad for an athlete who is not a club swimmer and who is now debating whether to engage both his disciplines even further. Beck is thinking about swimming for the Southwest Aquatic Club (SWAT) to improve his stroke technique while also heading into the North Shore to take advantage of the top-notch diving coaching at Schroeder.
"This was such a fun year," the 6-2, 170-pound Beck said. "The team was way closer than last year and got along so well and we all like working for coach Ross. He's an intense coach and only expects the best."
Lennertz is happy to hear that.
"All in all I was very proud of the boys this weekend," he said. "They had a great sectional meet. … And at the state meet, they did extremely well for themselves."
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