Last year, Lee’s Summit North boys swimmer Liam Bresette wanted to prove that he was more than just a freestyle swimmer.
In 2015, he won the 200- and 500-yard freestyle races, so Bresette decided to take on a new challenge his junior season – the 200 individual medley. He took second in that race and broke the 500 free record that year at the state meet, but there was still one more challenge he wanted to take on.
This year, his senior season, Bresette elected to compete in the 100 and 200 freestyle at state.
Bresette wanted to take on the latter because he wanted to break his own state record, and he also chose the former to compete in the former to challenge himself with a sprinting event, something he had never specialized in before.
Not only did Bresette become a state champion in both events, he broke both state records with a time of 1 minute, 37.04 seconds in the 200 free and 44.56 seconds in the 100 free. The senior also led his team to a third-place finish at state and anchored the state champion 200 medley relay team (1:34.96) and the all-state 400 freestyle relay team (3:17.19) that finished third.
Those accomplishments were the icing on the cake for perhaps the greatest swimmer in Lee’s Summit North history. He’s broken every individual school record except diving, 100 backstroke and 100 breaststroke. He also is arguably the best freestyle swimmer in state history as he holds three out of the four records in individual freestyle events.
Capping off his high school career in such an emphatic fashion has earned Bresette the 2017 Examiner Boys Swimmer/Diver of the Year award, his third straight.
It was a big challenge for Bresette to break the 100 free record because he had been focusing more on the 500 and 200 freestyles during the Big Seven Conference Championships. After that meet, he decided to compete in the 100 instead of the 500.
“His goal was to break the (100 free) record,” Broncos coach Brian Ray said. “He had to shift from distance events to sprints in just a two-week time period. That took a lot. He really had to change up his training.
“He wanted to prove that he could do it. He had been known as a distance swimmer for so long. He wanted show he was capable of doing shorter distance. He’s probably the best all-around swimmer that we’ve had.”
That type of training included more fast-paced practices. Bresette adapted to it pretty quickly.
“My training heavily involved powerful kicks, some underwater swimming and a lot of sprinting and getting my heart rate up,” said Bresette, who qualified for state in every individual event except for diving.
That type of versatility that Bresette provided was an invaluable asset for Ray and his Broncos.
“It was good but also stressful,” Ray said. “You have to make sure he is in the right events to be successful. And you have to make sure the team is ready to grow and develop. We had to make sure Liam had the training he needed.”
And it all worked out as Bresette helped his team capture a state plaque.
“We had two freshmen on the team and Liam was good at taking them and helping them move forward,” Ray said, referring to budding stars Daniel Worth and Lance Godard. “Those guys had never been at a meet like that before, so Liam explained how it works, the nerves and the way the structure of the meet is. He was really great at that.”
Added: “I think that was a great way to go out. We definitely gained some fresh, new talent on our team and had a couple of all-star freshmen. We went in with six guys scoring and the two teams ahead of us had about 20 guys at the meet.”
Now, that he’s accomplished everything he wanted at the high school level, Bresette turns his attention to United States Swimming and the Speedo Winter Junior Championships, which he competes in this week. He will also have a few more meets after that before he begins his college swimming career at Arizona State University.
“I definitely want to get a top placement at (the junior championships),” Bresette said. “There will be a lot more competition there than there was at state, so I am excited to see a bunch of fast guys. I just want to go in and do my best and show what I can do.
“I am definitely looking forward to training with guys faster than me (at Arizona State). That’s not always been the case for me because I have always been the fastest on my team and usually in the Midwest.”