LYNNVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – Tecumseh swimmer Payton Buse had a promising high school career ahead of him. He qualified for the state finals his first two years in high school, and had set a number of records along the way.
But that progress came to a screeching halt in the fall of 2019 when Buse suffered a scary leg injury in the Braves’ final football game of the regular season.
“Times were not as good as they [are now], but they got better, and slowly, I started thinking this might work out here in about a year,” Buse said. “That’s where we are today.”
And where he is today, no one could have envisioned in 2019.
Buse returned to the pool three months later in January of 2020. However, the injury took a toll on his performance. He failed to qualify for state that year, but Buse wasn’t going to let his setback define him.
“The fact that he was willing to come back and put in the time speaks highly of his dedication and his determination,” said Tecumseh head coach Cindy Fuhriman.
His hard work paid off. This week at sectionals, Buse not only took home first place in the 50 freestyle, he also set a new sectional record.
“I think this year, something nobody really thought I could do anymore,” Buse said. “Something I kind of doubted for awhile. Just being able to see I can put up those times again, and actually better than before, is a big sigh of relief.”
“He’s always had that attitude,” Fuhriman said. “This happened; let’s move on. He doesn’t dwell; he doesn’t feel sorry for himself. He never has. We talk about it’s one thing to be disappointed; it’s another thing to regret. So, he doesn’t live with any regrets.”
When Buse competes in the state finals tomorrow, he’ll dive into the challenge with the same resolve that got him there.
(This story was originally published on February 25, 2021)