Geneseo’s Ethan Herstedt won the 400 individual medley competing for the Geneseo Park District Gators swim team at the 2018 Illinois Summer Swimming Regionals in Peoria, from July 20 to July 22.

Geneseo’s Ethan Herstedt won the 400 individual medley competing for the Geneseo Park District Gators swim team at the 2018 Illinois Summer Swimming Regionals in Peoria, from July 20 to July 22.

A Geneseo Middle School student, Herstedt won the IM in 5:44.53 competing in the 12-and-under division, and he finished second in the 200 backstroke in 2:35.64.

Herstedt continued to show well finishing with a third-place time of 1:14.67 in the 100 backstroke, and he nabbed fourth in the 500 freestyle in 6:19.87.

He landed 14th in the 200 individual medley in 2:46.26.

Herstedt aimed to qualify in as many events as possible at regionals, but he thinks the Gators program is about more than just helping him get faster in the pool.

“It’s let me grow as a swimmer, grow as a person and really helped me grow in everything,” Herstedt said.

Herstedt swims year round with the Gators program which has between 20-30 swimmers competing as part of the Geneseo Park District program.

Herstedt’s best event is the backstroke, but he believes his consistent work toward improving in all events has helped him continue to drop time.

He won the 12-and-under 200-yard backstroke title with a personal best time of 2:32.68 at the USA Swimming Illinois Winter Regional Championships, held in Bloomington, in February.

Geneseo Gators Coach Marifaith Mueller believes Herstedt’s results show an example of what swimmers can do if they keep practicing and training.

“He’s a great role model for our younger kids,” Geneseo Gators Coach Marifaith Mueller said. “The little kids look up to him because he is doing something no one else has done in the history of our swim team. We are still young, and it’s really setting a nice stage for me to be able to encourage younger swimmers.”