The Boys Raider Swimming Team heads into Sectionals with the same challenge that they face every year heading to Sectionals: Beat Zionsville. This year, they face one of the stiffest challenges in recent years, a Zionsville team widely recognized as one of, if not the top team in the state.
Harrison has a strong program, with most rankings and performance-based results having the team solidly inside of its top 25, and with an undefeated season to show for it. However, the team and its leaders know that only the team’s best will be enough to stop Zionsville from getting their sixth consecutive Sectional crown, and 9th in the last 10 years.
With this kind of a challenge facing the team, the team knows that preparation will be key in overcoming such a tough opponent.
“Swimming isn’t like many other sports,” said senior captain Payton Lanie. “This isn’t like other sports where we have to physically stop Zionsville. If we are ready and focused when it is our turn to swim, we can beat anybody. We just have to be ready.”
A critical part of the team’s successes this year and for the future will be the strong combination of freshmen, sophomores, and juniors that propel this team for years to come. A crucial part of this foundation is sophomore John Roop, who qualified for state last year as a freshman and looks to build on that, both from a team, and from an individual perspective.
“I hope we can break some school records on Saturday. I hope that we get a relay to state as well. I want to win sectionals as a team. And I want to make it to state in both my individual events.”
However, despite the great talent of the underclassmen, this young team has a solid group of senior leaders that have been preparing the team for battle all season. One of them is Andrew Baldwin, who knows the importance of leadership in a group like this.
“My favorite quote about leadership is by Napoleon Bonaparte. If you build an army of 100 lions and their leader is a dog, in any fight, the lions will die like a dog. But if you build an army of 100 dogs and their leader is a lion, all dogs will fight like a lion." The job of a leader is to bring out the best qualities in the team, to ensure that they will "fight like a lion” said senior captain Andrew Baldwin.
The result is yet to be seen as the Raiders fight for the Sectional crown in both the prelims on Thursday and the Finals on Saturday, but one thing is for sure; The Raider Boys’ Swim Team is here to stay.