Adam Peterson and Jack Marlatt wanted one more shot at the Downstate 8 Relays meet record in the 2x50 freestyle.

They got it. And they took full advantage of the opportunity.

The Pekin co-op senior swimmers broke their own meet record Saturday, winning the event in :43.24.

They swam :44.50 in 2016 to break the 18-year-old meet record of :44.79 set in 1998 by Champaign Centennial.

“Jack and I have been looking forward to the (Downstate 8 Relays) and the 2x50 for a year,” Peterson said Saturday. “We wanted so badly to break our record in the event and show everyone that the Pekin swim team is the real deal this season.”

It took a slight bit of arm-twisting to get the opportunity.

New Pekin coach Christine Dunn originally did not enter Peterson and Marlatt in the 2x50.

“I spoke to Coach Dunn, then Jack and I spoke to her about swimming the event about a week before the meet,” Peterson said. “She said OK, but don’t let us down.”

They didn’t.

Peterson, a Western Illinois recruit, and Marlatt finished nearly three seconds in front of runners-up Avery Fowler and Alex Klumb of Moline (:45.87).

Mitch Richards was Pekin’s coach last year. He made the decision to put Peterson and Marlatt in the 2x50 in the 2016 Downstate 8 Relays.

“Jack and I were the two fastest guys on the team in the event, so Coach Richards thought we’d have the best opportunity to get some points for our team,” Peterson said. “We didn’t go out there planning to break the record in the event. We just wanted to help our team.”

Pekin earned a top-three team trophy Saturday for its third-place finish.

“I think that’s the first team trophy we’ve won (in the Downstate 8 Relays) in my four years on the team,” Peterson said.

There were six teams in the meet this year. Rockford Guilford couldn’t make it because of bad driving conditions.

Moline (102) and Dunlap co-op (83) finished in front of Pekin co-op (76). Centennial (60), Metamora co-op (59) and Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin (32) rounded out the standings.

“Our team did a great job because we were going on limited sleep,” Peterson said. “We practiced from 5:30 to 7:15 in the morning the three days before the meet because of the basketball tournament (Pekin Insurance Holiday Tournament).

“We’ve also had guys out because they were sick or injured or went on vacation.”

See the Pekin Times and pekintimes.com later this week for more on the Downstate 8 Relays.

Steve Stein can be reached at stevestein21@yahoo.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.