Phillips 66 National Championships begin today in Indianapolis
Liam Bresette has spent the last two years etching his name into the Lee’s Summit North High School and state record books. Today, he’s looking to make his mark on the national scene as he begins competition in the Phillips 66 National Championships in Indianapolis.
A year-round competitive swimmer for the past nine years, the incoming senior has won three high school state championships, setting Missouri State High School Activities Association records in the 200 and 500 freestyle events. As a sophomore in the fall of 2015 he won the 200 free in state-record time (1:38.15) and the 500 free (4:29.90) and anchored the 200 medley and 400 free relays. In 2016, he switched to the 200 IM, placing second with 1:48.88, and defended his 500 free title with a record-breaking 4:24.68. He also repeated his two relay anchors with respective times of 20.94 and 44.73.
As a member of the of Empire KC Swim Club, Bresette was a finalist at the 2016 Speedo Winter Junior Championships West in the 500 freestyle (8th), 200 freestyle (9th) and 200 butterfly (16th); he also competed in the 50 and 100 freestyle, 100 butterfly, and 200 individual medley.
“My favorite event right now is probably the 200 free,” said Bresette, who will be competing in the 200 and 400 freestyle and 200 individual medley this week. “I just started training for the 200 IM this year. And if I keep going at it like this, I could see it becoming my favorite. They’re both fun events.”
Like most kids, Bresette’s entry into his sport of choice came from simply following an older sibling. But it was the people he would meet, along with a natural feel for the sport, that kept him coming back to the pool.
“My older brother got me introduced to my neighborhood swim team and then I just kept going,” he said. “I’ve tried other sports, but swimming is really the place I want to to be. It’s the people, mainly. I mean, in other sports — well, you always have those happy people, but then there’s always those angry people who are always yelling and bringing others down. But in swimming, everyone you meet is there to do their job and to have fun. I can go to any state and any meet and just talk to people. I can have a good conversation with any of them.”
This week, Bresette will get a chance to have his fill of conversations with other swimmers as the national meet hosts between 400-500 competitors. He is the first member of the Empire team to participate in this competition, which serves as a qualifier for the U.S. team in the pool competition at the 2017 FINA World Championships, which runs from July 23-30 in Budapest, Hungary.
Outside of the Olympic Games, the FINA World championships are the sport’s largest international competition. Additionally, results will qualify individuals for the U.S. rosters for the World University Games and FINA World Junior Championships.
“The Empire KC family is so excited for Liam,” said Empire head coach Carmen Menges. “He is a hard worker in and out of the pool and his qualification for the Phillips 66 National Championships is proof of his commitment. Nationals offers him an opportunity to compete against the best in the country and will be a great test of his skills. Liam deserves to be there and I can’t wait to see what he will do.”
Bresette nearly qualified for the national meet last year, which motivated his training to hit a qualifying time early this season.
“Last year, I barely missed qualifying. I missed by half a second,” he said. “I think last year, getting that close, qualifying would have been a surprise. But this year, it was more of a relief when I got it. I worked hard and I got that qualifying time pretty quickly. Once I got it, I was able to really focus on what I needed to do to place and to see what I can do against this competition. In the 200 free, I’m going to get in and just go as fast as I can. I want to see what I can do. In the other events, it’s more a matter of me trying not to let the guy next to me beat me.”
Bresette’s competition begins this morning with the 200 freestyle. NBC Sports Group will air twelve hours of coverage from the event with nightly broadcasts on the NBC Sports Network. A webcast of the meet is also available at usaswimming.org.