During the 2015 Indiana Boys State Swimming Championship that took place at the IU Natatorium at IUPUI, only one freshman from Harrison High School made it to the first round.
That freshman was John Roop, who scored first in the 500-yard freestyle and second in the 200 freestyle during the 2015 sectional championship in Zionsville, enabling him to make it to the state finals.
Even though he did not make it past the first round at state, he is still glad to have made it that far, especially as a freshmen.
Swimming isn't the only sport Roop, a sophomore, is playing this year, but it is his favorite. Roop loves that swimming gives him a chance to meet new people, not only from his school but from other schools as well.
He also plays soccer on the varsity boys team at Harrison and was on the school’s baseball team last year.
Roop has been swimming for six years and has been a part of the Boilermaker Aquatics Swim Club for six years.
In the beginning, Roop was not sure if swimming was something he wanted to continue.
It was at age 12 when he decided to commit to the sport.
“I guess when I started seriously thinking about it was around age 12 when I was able to actually compete with the good kids,” Roop said. “When I started swimming I wasn't very good, but that’s how everybody starts out. So once I started actually being serious about it was when I started getting good.”
He still continues to get better every year, resulting is his ranking of fifth in the state.
“To me, being fifth in the state is really cool,” said Roop. “It takes into consideration all the strokes and hard work.”
Hard work is something Roop contributes to his swimming every practice.
Coach Beth Brown, who has been coaching the boys team for 10 seasons, has taken a notice to Roop’s dedication to the sport.
“John has a natural feel for the water and has since he was very young,” said Brown. “He also has excellent cardiovascular conditioning. That enables him to swim long sets at a consistent pace a lot like marathon runners and elite cyclists. Being a multi-sport athlete is always a bonus. Aside from these things he works hard throughout the year.”
Roop’s older brother and a senior at Harrison, Matthew Roop, is constantly proud of Roop’s swimming accomplishments.
“I am very proud of him,” said older brother Roop. “It was very cool to go and see him swim in the state meet and compete with kids three or four years older than him. To see him come so close to the school record as a freshman. It is a pretty special accomplishment.”
Roop is indeed close to breaking the 500-yard freestyle record at Harrison. He is 0.9 seconds away from succeeding that goal.
The hardest competition Roop is up against in swimming is sometimes, himself.
“My biggest competition would have to be myself honestly,” said Roop. “Sometimes I have bad days, and can’t stay focused, or don’t want to work as hard as I normally do. I’d have to say that would be my biggest competition”
Roop’s swimming career won’t end with high school, he says he wants to continue swimming in college.
His family has been his number one supporters throughout all his years in swimming.
“They really help me alot,” Roop said. “Everybody has those days that when they don’t want to do anything. But my family will tell me ‘You have a chance to break the record’ and it’s their motivation that really pushes me and helps me to become better.”