For the second consecutive year, sophomore swimming sensation John Roop has qualified for the state swimming meet in Indianapolis to join some of the best swimmers in the state.
Roop qualified in three events, individually in the 200 and 500 free, and as a relay with team members Caleb Beimfohr, Luke Johnson, and Andrew Baldwin.
These outstanding performances, along with many more by the team, led the team to a second-place finish that had them closer to state leader and sectional champion Zionsville than the third-place Red Devils of West Lafayette.
Such an exceptional team effort, and a group state qualification, is one of the reasons that Roop knows that even though it is an individual sport, the team aspect is critical to success.
“My teammates definitely push me during practice a lot,” he said. “Also, some days I don’t feel like being there, and they pick me up and make me work really hard to get the most out of practice.”
This work ethic and appreciation shown by Roop and his teammates is one of the reasons that the team has such a bright future ahead, with everyone but Baldwin being an underclassman on the state-qualifying relay. Reasons like these are why junior swimmer Sam Arvin know that the future is bright for the team and for Roop as a leader.
“John is a talented and lighthearted guy,” Arvin said. “He already shows great leadership and motivated the team every day to work harder than they have before.”
Even the senior captains have been impressed with the work ethic that Roop has demonstrated in achieving a position that even he didn’t believe was possible coming into the season.
“John Roop is one of the hardest working kids on the team,” senior captain Payton Lanie said. “He is one of those guys that will always go the extra mile and often stays in the pool longer to train more. With that mentality and work ethic, it’s no wonder he made it to state.”
Despite his team’s expressed belief of Roop, he even surprised himself with his performance at sectionals, breaking not only the Harrison record in the 500 free, but also the sectional record with a time of 4:35:53, good for third in the state, and winning the sectional by an astounding 15 seconds, which was the difference between second and sixth.
Cutting nearly 16 seconds from the preliminaries was not easy, but Roop found a way and is now a half-second from the No. 2 seed and five seconds from the No. 1 seed.
“I honestly didn’t think I would be where I am right now,” said Roop. “Last year, I was 11th so I was hoping to this year to be top eight. It’s amazing to say that I am top three in my event.”
With a determined work ethic and teammates that push Roop every day, it is no surprise to most that he has gotten to this point. Now it is all up to him to cap a magnificent second season with a strong showing at the preliminaries on Friday, and to qualify all three of the events he is involved in to the state Finals Saturday.