Athlete in focus: Ben Louis

 The OPRF swim and dive team has had some great success recently with many skilled swimmers coming through the school along the way. 

Senior Ben Louis, a three-year varsity swimmer, is a testament to the team’s potential this season, recently setting pool records for the 100 meter butterfly and 200 meter freestyle.

The previous pool record for the 100 meter butterfly, 51.19 seconds, was set by Kyle Patnode in 2013.  Louis broke it by one-tenth of a second. 

“So many people (go) on to do great things after attending OPRF,” Louis said. “It feels great to be a part of history.” 

Louis added that Patnode reached out after he broke the butterfly record to congratulate him. “It meant a lot to receive that congrats from him,” he said. “He’s been an amazing swimmer his whole career.” 

Louis made his big jump between his freshman and sophomore years, dropping almost 10 seconds in all of his events. 

Junior Emmett Harmon, Louis’ teammate, says Louis is a great locker room presence. “Ben is a great leader for the team. He’s kept old traditions alive and has kept the team morale high throughout the challenges we have faced,” Harmon said.

“Ben is the kind of guy that leads with his actions,” said senior swimmer Thomas Rotatori. “He’s an extremely hard worker who is always focused and cares deeply about the team.”

In 2020, the team was having a great playoff run. They had made it through regionals and sectionals. However, the end of the playoffs and the 2021 state series were canceled due to COVID-19.

“We knew we were one of the best teams and could have won it. It was one of the most talented teams OPRF swimming has ever had,” Rotatori said.

This year, the state series is back, and the team got off to a good start. Led by Louis, the team won the Riverside-Brookfield Invite at Riverside-Brookfield High School and the Mustang Invite at Downers Grove South. However, while Louis was out competing in junior nationals, the team lost the Hinsdale Invite to Lyons Township.

With a state run and much more up for grabs this year, Louis and the team will look to dominate. However, Louis doesn’t want to be constrained by others’ expectations of his performance. “The word potential is such a funny word. So many people have been seen as having more potential than me but now I’m doing better,” he said. “I think when I feel I’ve done everything that I can, I’ll recognize that and that is when I’ll be satisfied.”