Football still is one of Ethan Bresette’s favorite sports.
But his ability to slice quickly through the water, and the innate desire to constantly get faster at it, made giving up that sport easier to stomach for the Lee’s Summit North senior.
Bresette, who led the Broncos to a third-place finish at the 2013 MSHSAA Boys Swimming and Diving State Championships by winning one event, taking second in another and anchoring first- and second-place relays, is The Examiner’s Boys Swimmer of the Year. He plans to continue his swimming career at Missouri State in Springfield.
Football and boys swimming being fall sports in Missouri, Bresette had to relinquish one of them, but he said it wasn’t until his sophomore or junior season that he realized how far he could go in swimming.
“For a long time, like any kid, I was in multiple sports,” Bresette said. “After I decided it was swimming, I put more time into it and progressed.
“I’ve never had a favorite stroke. My best stroke right now is butterfly, but I’m fairly good at the rest of them, so IM was a good event for me.”
Good enough to win the 200-yard individual medley state title in November (1 minute, 51.17 seconds) after winning at the Suburban Big Six meet in 1:53.37. In previous trips to state Bresette took second (1:52.88) and 10th (1:56.71) in that event. He also claimed second at state in the 500 freestyle (4:36.49), shaving more than four seconds off his winning Big Six time.
Bresette anchored the 400 freestyle relay that won state in 3:09.91 after that relay had taken seventh and 10th the last two years at state. In the 200 free relay, the Broncos were runner-up in 1:26.71 after taking seventh each of their past two state appearances.
Both relays also won at the Big Six meet, as the Broncos captured the team championship. Michael Hynes, Thomas Reilly and James White joined Bresette in the 400 relay, while Hynes, Zach Littell and James White preceded him in the 200.
Bresette also swam the 100 butterfly at state the previous two seasons, placing eighth as a sophomore and fifth as a junior.
However, the best, Lee’s Summit North coach Danielle Russell believes, is yet to come.
“Where he is right now, it’s fantastic, and he’s only going to get better,” Russell said. “He’s tapped in and motivated, because he knows he hasn’t reached his full potential.
“As far as high school, I don’t think I could’ve asked for more. Every year he exceeded expectations. As a coach he’s a blast to have. He’s so quick to pick up technique and quick to acknowledge when something needs to be fine-tuned. It’s not all talent with him. He’s a naturally gifted athlete, but he was a football player. To transfer football ability to swimming ability, that's not easy.”
As much as points accumulated from high finishes, what Russell said will be hard to replace with Bresette is his overall drive and attitude.
“He’s also a good teammate,” she said. “You don’t find leaders like Ethan every day.”
Bresette and the Broncos earned plenty of honors in the high school pools, but he also enjoyed the time spent building to that success – which is what he said he'll miss the most.
“(I’ll miss) being able to collaborate with people who may not take the sport as seriously but want to contribute,” Bresette said. “I wanted to enjoy the sport while it’s fun before going off to college, where it’s more serious.
“It was always as fun as I imagined it would be. I got to develop leadership skills from it, and I developed friendships.”