5 Reasons Why First-Time Olympian Gunnar Bentz is Ready for Rio

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Photo Courtesy: Gunnar Bentz (Instagram)

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Editorial Coverage Sponsored By FINIS

By: SuSu Almousa, Swimming World College Intern

Three of the six swimmers who qualified for the men’s 4×200 free relay are collegiate teammates. All six are not exclusively freestylers, and two of the four collegiates have been featured by Swimming World Magazine as swimmers to look out for

Gunnar Bentz, the only non-Longhorn of the collegiate qualifiers, grew up in Atlanta, Georgia where he started swimming at the age of 3. He claims swimming was  “the only sport I was good at.” His parents were both track and field collegiate athletes at Berry College. Bentz clenched his spot on the U.S. Olympic Team with a fifth place finish in the 200-meter freestyle.

Bentz’s high-school, collegiate, and international successes built him up to prepare for the title “Olympian”. Here are a few traits that have allowed Bentz to reach the pinnacle of our sport…

1. Bentz has the skill.

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

To be able to be a successful IMer, you need to have exceptional skill and technique in all strokes. And while it is tough on a lot of us to focus solely on one stroke to perfect, it is something within an IMer’s blood that allows them to be at least decent at everything. When you call an IMer up to the blocks, he will do nothing but deliver. Even if it’s in a 200 freestyle on a relay…

2. International Success

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

This isn’t Bentz’s first rodeo in international waters. He has made his presence known in the international swimming scene, winning two golds at the 2013 FINA World Junior Championships, and setting Junior world records in the 200m IM and 400m IM. He showed promise in the 200m freestyle at the 2015 Pan American Games in Canada, splitting a 1:47.90 and helping Team USA earn silver. 

3. He has the stamina.

Gunnar Bentz

Photo Courtesy: Peter Bick

Bentz swam in four finals and secured a surprise spot on the 800 free relay. Knowing that you have to swim lightning fast for a total of four finals—as well as prelims and semifinals—is a feat in itself. Bentz proved himself an all-round phenomenal swimmer with tremendous mental stamina by qualifying for four finals at the 2016 Olympic Trials.

4. He’s committed.

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Photo Courtesy: Swimming World Magazine

Bentz has been in the sport since age 3. We all know that we have days where giving up seems like the right decision, but to have gone through the grueling sport for this long and still be rising in the ranks shows serious drive. Gunnar Bentz can teach us all a lesson: the hardest things in life don’t come from giving up.

5. He has one of the greatest nicknames ever.

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Photo Courtesy: Gunnar Bentz (Twitter)

Every star has to have a great stage-name, and if you ask me, The Gunny Bunny ranks up there as one of the best. As his Twitter and Instagram tag, Bentz is dominating the name game in the social media pool. Though Gunnar Bentz isn’t a name we’ll soon forget, The Gunny Bunny really resonates— in and out of the water.

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Bev Cook Hatadis
5 years ago

Happy Birthday Olivia.?????