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Athlete of the Week: D.C. Everest’s Payton Rudeen and Ben Halambeck

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This weeks athletes of the week are D.C. Everest swimmers Payton Rudeen and Ben Halambeck.

Both Rudeen and Halambeck qualified for the maximum number of events for this year's state tournament.

They'll both be competing in the 200 yard medley relay, the 200 yard freestyle relay, and the 100 yard breaststroke, in addition to two other individual events, at the state tournament in Madison this weekend.

"I was closer in a lot of the events than I thought I would be," said Payton Rudeen, a senior at D.C. Everest. "The 100 breaststroke got a lot faster. I actually got 24th in that, which was the last person to qualify, so I got really lucky there. I made it by 100th."

"I came in thinking I was going to qualify because the past years we've qualified," said Ben Halambeck, a junior at D.C. Everest. "The relays did surprise me a little bit. I didn't know if we were going to qualify in the relays."

This won't be either of their first times competing in Madison.

"I've been to state for three years now. My freshman, sophomore and junior year now," Halambeck said.

"I've been going to state every year since sophomore year," Rudeen said.

So, by now, they know how to prepare for it.

"Try and do your best," Rudeen said. "It's easy to say, but you actually have to get into a really good mental state. Mental, I think, is actually the biggest challenge to me swimming fast. Physically, I always feel pretty good, but it's actually the mental game that I have to trick myself into thinking that I really want to go fast here and I want to do good."

"For swimming the older you get, the faster you get, so now when I'm going in as a junior now, I'm expecting higher placements," Halambeck said. "My goals have changed this year to podium, instead of just like getting top ten, now, I just want to get top six and podium."

They have their families to thank for it.

"My dad swam in college and he coaches a swim team in Wittenburg and he put me on a swim team as soon as I could swim," Rudeen said. "I've just grown up doing it."

"It was my big sister that got me into swimming," Halambeck said. "She did swimming, so I was kinda like, 'I see you doing swimming, so I kind of want to do swimming'."

"Honestly, they're just two of the hardest workers on the team," said Garrett Richetto, D.C. Everest's swim coach. "They're great guys. They're leaders and, you know, they deserve everything they are getting this weekend."

Sydney Jones

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