Harrison swimmers fueled by family feel

Harrison swimmers fueled by family feel


Harrison swimmers fueled by family feel


At the end of Harrison boys swim practice on Tuesday, team members and coach Beth Brown faced the American flag hanging at the corner of the pool and belted out the “Star Spangled Banner” in unison.

The national anthem is their guaranteed ticket to the IHSAA state finals.

When word got to Steve Searcy, the assistant commissioner of the IHSAA, about the Raiders pre-swim meet ritual, Searcy asked the team to open the boys state swimming preliminaries on Feb. 27 with a performance.

It’s a bond of brotherhood as the competitors admit they are as tight-knit a group as could be imagined.

That connection goes beyond vocals.

“We get to know a lot of about each other. We don’t know every single thing about them, but we know them enough to where it is kind of like we look out for each other all the time,” senior Jake Renie said. “We get on each other about grades. If coach says, ‘Are you doing well in this class?’ we will offer them help.”

The athletes say things you often hear, such as “this team is like a big family,” but when they say it, it does not feel forced and each can provide specific examples.

One specific came from the North Central Conference meet. Brown’s father had recently died, and the Raiders rallied around their leader, winning the championship.

You can see it in the way they interact with one another.

Surely, when you group teenage boys together, there is tension, but it rarely shows among this group.

“Most of the time, we vent in the pool. You take it all out in the water or in the weight room,” senior Evan Berkey said.

It’s why Harrison has been able to build a strong program, almost equally balanced across the board by class.

It’s up to the seniors to display necessary leadership that will carry on down the line and keep the Raider tradition of a family feel strong.

“There’s a constant flow of great leadership coming in,” senior Noah Andrews said. “As they move up, they learn from the classes ahead of them. On this team, we are a family. We push ourselves to be better.”

While Harrison’s sectional roster already will have deck passes for the state meet, some of the team would prefer to get there as participants in the pool.

That journey begins in the Zionsville pool on Thursday for sectional preliminaries.

“This whole year builds up to this point,” Berkey said.

For now, the Raiders sport mohawks.

By the time they enter the water on Thursday, their heads will be clean-shaven, an annual postseason task for the Raiders.

“It’s a way for us to relax before sectionals and a way for us to bond even more,” senior Jared Li said. “It lets people recognize us as a team, more so than just us.”​

IHSAA sectional

At Zionsville

Prelims: 6 p.m. Thursday

Diving prelims: 9 a.m. Saturday.

Finals: 1 p.m. Saturday

Admission: $6 per session; $9 for both sessions

If you go: Zionsville High School is at 1000 Mulberry St.


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