Kuper places third in state race

Sunday, February 13, 2005

ST. PETERS, Mo. -- Lenny Kuper had waited two years for this moment.

Kuper, the Notre Dame boys swimming coach, was beaming proudly after watching his son and standout swimmer, Jameson, finish third in the 100-yard breaststroke at Saturday's Missouri State High School Activities Association boys swimming and diving championships at the St. Peters Rec-Plex.

The junior, who had a time 1 minute, 0.36 seconds in the breaststroke, also finished seventh in a very tight 200-yard freestyle event at the state meet.

All this comes after Kuper took last year off from high school swimming after finishing eighth in the 200 free at the 2003 state meet as a freshman.

"We're just so very proud of him for coming back and still having excellent times," Lenny Kuper said. "I have to admit this is a very proud moment for me. This is just such an exciting time for us seeing him do so well at state."

The younger Kuper was the only Notre Dame swimmer at the state meet, so he accounted for all 28 team points, which was good for 19th place.

Kuper got off to a fast start in the breaststroke and had the lead for the first couple of legs before being overtaken by eventual winner Jared Lender of Parkway Central and second-place finisher John Willett of Hickman. Even so, Kuper finished a little more than a second behind Lender and just three-tenths of a second behind Willett.

"I got out pretty fast with the lead and just died in the last 50," he said. "I'll be working on that and try to get it down a couple seconds faster."

Kuper was under a minute (59.90) in Friday's preliminaries, but he wasn't upset about posting a slightly higher time on Saturday.

"I added about four-tenths of a second from yesterday, but all in all it was a good race," he said.

In the 200 free, just 1.38 seconds separated Lafayette's Sean Mathews (1:44.60) in third place and Kuper (1:45.98) in seventh place.

The Tigers' 200-medley relay team of Daniel Austin, Peyton Waggener, Jason Mercer and Hunter Givens posted a time of 1:45.68 to edge 16th-place Liberty (1:46.25). Central's 200 free relay team of Kris Metje, Mercer, Austin and Givens had a time of 1:34.45, which was one-half second behind 15th place Oak Park.

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