Bennett Grothusen

School: Springfield Township

Water Polo, Swimming





Favorite memory competing in sports: My favorite memory so far has definitely been winning districts this year. It's something that has been so close for the team the prior three years, always losing by two or three events. Those losses only made winning this year all the better.


Most embarrassing/funniest thing that has happened while competing in sports: While racing mountain bikes, I crashed right in front of the cameraman for Pinkbike. Consequently, there was a clip of me falling on a very slow section of the track put up on the internet for the world to see.


Music on my playlist: A fair bit of black keys


Future plans: Continue swimming at RIT and see what happens from there.


Words to live by: My friends went to a summer camp that had the motto "seek the Joy of being alive" which I always really liked.


One goal before turning 30: Travel more.


One thing people don’t know about me: I can move my ears.



By Mary Jane Souder


Nick Militello can’t imagine life without Springfield Township senior Bennett Grothusen as part of his swim team. There’s certainly no mistaking the Spartans’ coach will miss Grothusen’s contributions in the pool where he holds several program records, but it’s much more than that.


“Our running joke with him is he’s so sharp that when he finally graduates the assistant coaches and even myself will actually have authority again because when he comes to practice, he looks things over,” Militello said.  “Not that we’re doing it on purpose, but if we make a mistake, he’s the one who’s going to find it.


“When he comes to practice, he looks over things. You transcribe and as you transcribe, you make mistakes, so you put a time down that doesn’t work or sometimes is too slow or too fast or sometimes a set doesn’t work - he can just read it and then tell you the mistakes.”


Grothusen laughs when the running joke is mentioned, and there’s no question he has enjoyed keeping his coaches on their toes.


“Our one coach is very, very meticulous about everything she does, and I think I’m one of the few people to ever call her out on her mistakes,” Grothusen said. “Literally really minute things like writing mistakes on the board. It’s a joke, but they’re going to have a lot of errors next year.”


Grothusen is only half joking, and his coach credits his senior captain for forcing him to up his game.


“That’s actually something as part of the coaching team that you look forward to,” Militello said. “You want somebody who’s going to challenge you. Otherwise, you don’t grow, so he as an athlete helps you grow as coaches.


“Once he’s gone, we’ll be in charge again. I’m not sure that’s a good thing because he challenges us, and if there’s going to be a problem, we know Bennett is going to catch us. He’s not arrogant, but he does not lack in confidence.”


That confidence is well founded. Grothusen excels in the pool, earning a trip to states all four years of high school. As a freshman, he competed in states as part of the relays, but the past three years, he also qualified individually.


Recently, the Spartans’ senior captain captured the gold medal in the 200 IM at the District One 2A championships, breaking a program record that stood since 1993. He also won the 100 backstroke and will have an opportunity to break his own program record in that event when he competes in the PIAA 2A State Championships later this month.


Grothusen played a key role in the Spartans’ run to the District One 2A team title.


“He’s just a fantastic athlete with a strong personality and clear drive,” Militello said. “You always hear coaches complain about phenomenal athletes who have no drive, and then you have the kids that have the drive and no matter how hard they work – they’re impassioned, but genetics does play a factor, and they’re not going to be a superstar. They’ll be good, but they won’t be both. I don’t know about superstar, but Bennett is pretty darn close.”


With a swimming pool in his backyard when he was growing up, Grothusen has been swimming for as long as he can remember and began swimming competitively when he was four or five. He competed until seventh grade when he opted to take a year off.


“I didn’t really love it at the time,” he said. “I had more fun doing other sports.”


Grothusen played in lacrosse in middle school, and he began racing mountain bikes in sixth grade.


“That was pretty much fun,” he said. “Bikes have been part of my life longer than swimming. My dad’s pretty into it, and I work at a bike shop in the summer and whenever I can.”


While in middle school, Grothusen rowed with a summer club at the Conshohocken Rowing Center. He even won a novice race.”


When he arrived at high school the fall of his freshman year, Grothusen competed with the water polo team but had no intention of joining the swim team.


“At the end of water polo season freshman year, Nick (Militello), my coach – it was a hard argument for him to get me to swim,” Grothusen said. “I was like, ‘I don’t know. I like the team, but swimming kind of sucks.’ He won that one.”


Militello remembers that exchange with Grothusen.


“He was a swimmer of mine from the age group level, so when I talked to him his eighth grad year going into ninth grade, I said, ‘Are you swimming.’ He’s like ‘Heck no.’


“Then he plays water polo, loves the team, which is how we usually get people to drink the kool-aid, and then he fell in love with the swim team, and he stuck as a swimmer. He’s one of the few athletes I have who’s going to be swimming in college, so above and beyond saying he wasn’t going to swim, he not only stuck with it, but he’s become a college swimmer as he moves forward.”


“I got back into it because of the high school team,” Grothusen said. “We play water polo in the fall, swim all winter and back to water polo in the spring and then swimming in the summer.


“I’m really with these 12-16 guys all year. It’s such a small team, and that team also became my friend group. You spend four hours a day with people in the pool. You bond, and that made it fun for me.”


Sophomore year, Grothusen lost his opportunity to compete in states when all sports were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


“That was heartbreaking,” he said. “We were out there (at the state championships), we were signing up for the meet, and they’re like – ‘It’s off, go home.’”


Grothusen opted to continue going virtual his entire junior year, and he thrived.


“Luckily, I’m the kind of person that does well with online school,” he said. “I really enjoyed it. I don’t know – I was able to put my head down and do all the work that was assigned, and I ended up having a lot of free time, so it wasn’t all that bad for me.”


During the pandemic, swimming provided a welcome outlet and a way to remain in contact with his friends.


“I don’t know what I would do with my time if I wasn’t swimming,” he said. “It’s just become so deeply engrained as part of my life.


“Once I was on the team – the swimmers before me showed me the drive to want to get better and turned it into more of an individual sport where I really started to love it for the sake of swimming.”



In addition to being a gifted swimmer, Grothusen is a natural leader, and Militello – pointing to his emotional maturity - named him captain as a junior.


“Even though I had really good seniors, he was probably the person that I did identify, even jokingly saying to them that he was the captain, and they were the assistants junior year,” Militello said. “Not because they were bad but because he just had his act together.


“I loved my seniors last year. They were a wonderful group of kids. Each of them had strengths, but none were the clear ‘I’m going to take the lead’ kid. Each of them did something that was important, so Bennett was the one that had that leader ability and put all the components of the three seniors into focus and say ‘Here, this is what we do best.’ I don’t know if he said those words, but he achieved that goal. He had focus, he had drive. More importantly, he had fun doing it, so he was able to keep the morale going with the team while being a fun kid to be around. That’s a rare (trait).”


Grothusen also excels outside the pool. He is enrolled in four AP classes, and as a member of the National Honor Society, he is involved in peer tutoring. He is the treasurer of Springfield’s Youth in Government Club.


“He’s one of the brightest kids I’ve ever worked with, and he’s fun too,” Militello said. ‘He’s just got a great sense of humor. It’s a rare combination. There are a lot of good athletes, but he just fits the character profile of somebody you want to know.”


Rochester Institute of Technology will be home to Grothusen for the next four years. He will major in engineering undecided – although he is leaning towards mechanical engineering. He will also continue his swimming career.


“I knew I wanted to be on a team,” he said. “Again, I think I’d get bored.”


With a district title and several individual golds already in his pocket, Grothusen will close out his high school swimming career at states.


“States is always more fun for us because the competition is so much harder,” the Spartans’ two-year captain said. “We just go and do the best we can and we’re happy with that. I don’t think it could have ended any better.”