Chart toppers: Fantastic freshman swimmers

Several area freshman boys have taken the plunge and been immediate contributors for their school’s swimming teams. The Big 12 meet is Saturday at Normal Community:

No. 1
Payton Woods
Champaign Central

Ranks among the area’s top 10 in four individual events, including the 50-yard freestyle (fifth) and the 100 freestyle (sixth). “His raw talent for sprinting is only matched by his desire to improve,” Central co-coach Ben Trupin said. “Payton is a tenacious worker. As his technique is fine-tuned, his times will undoubtedly get faster.” He’s also among the leaders in the 200 freestyle and 100 breaststroke and stands 11th in the 100 butterfly.

No. 2
Carter Huff
Urbana

Prepared for his inaugural season of high school swimming by running cross-country and had the Tigers’ top 3-mile time by more than 21/2 minutes. In the water he is an outstanding freestyle sprinter, ranking third in the area in the 50-yard event. “Carter works hard at practice each day and has improved his times almost each meet,” Urbana coach Alayna Martin said. He also has an area top-10 time in the 100 backstroke.

No. 3
Hunter Jones
Champaign Central

No novice to competitive swimming, the veteran club performer ranks among the area leaders (third) in the 100-yard breaststroke and, Trupin said, “has dropped about eight seconds so far this year, a feat not easily accomplished.” He is also among the area’s top 10 in the 200 individual medley. “Hunter lives up to his namesake when he swims,” Trupin said. “He goes after his races with determination.”

No. 4
Ben Storsved
Champaign Central

One of five Bens associated with the Maroons’ program (including the co-coach), “he sets himself apart,” Trupin said, “by his work ethic and coachability.” He swims all of the freestyle races from the 50 yards to the 500 and, Trupin said, has “proved a valuable member of the team. Being a hard worker is one attribute, but being able to perform is another.” This week, he climbed into the area top 10 in the 100 and 200 freestyle.

No. 5
Evan Peirce
Centennial

A versatile competitor, he ranks among the area’s top 10 in the 100 free and 100 backstroke and this week stands 11th in the 200 free. In last week’s Twin City championships, Peirce recorded a season-best time (53.61 seconds) and finished fourth in the 100 freestyle. “He has established himself as a hard worker and a serious competitor,” Centennial coach Jason Maddux said. Peirce has hit lifetime bests in three events this winter.

NEAR MISS: Central’s Kolton Canales is a 100 backstroker who also has the all-around skills to be competitive in the 200 individual medley. He is a prominent part of the area’s deepest freshman group in the sport, one Trupin describes as “an up-and-coming class.”

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