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Wednesday, June 19
The Indiana Daily Student

sports high school sports

Bloomington North high school swim team on the hunt for fourth straight sectional win

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Bloomington North high school swim team continued to flex its muscle in the water with statements made across the board during the preliminaries on Thursday. Every swimmer on the team placed in the top 16, allowing them to compete in the finals on Saturday against the top swimmers in the East Central section. 

The team traveled to East Central High School in St. Leon, Indiana, to face off against the top swimmers in its section Feb. 16. Cougars head coach Max Irwin said the long journey posed a bit of an obstacle; a four-hour round trip creates a much longer day for each swimmer. 

“We were able to get to the pool early and warm up,” Irwin said. “There is such thing as home pool advantage, so we had to adjust to the new location.” 

No obstacle was too tall for the Cougars, with top heat winners across the board, even though swimmers only needed to place within the top 8 to remain in Group A for the finals. 

“Some of the guys were top seeds, so they didn’t need to focus as hard,” Irwin said. “The rest of the guys did very well with upwards of 90% posting best times.”  

The Cougars remained poised in the loud atmosphere and high-pressure situation, and their practice throughout the season ensured the nerves wouldn’t get the best of them.  

“Big meets can be a bit nerve-wracking in high school because you’re not just swimming for yourself, but for your team, and you don’t want to let them down,” Irwin said. “What helped was that we were in a lot of high-pressure situations during the season.” 

He said leadership was also key to the team’s success. Since the team’s seniors won a sectional championship every year during their first three years, they were committed to completing their high school career with a sweep in sectional wins. 

“The seniors have repeatedly said ‘work hard’ to the team and are really pushing for that fourth win,” Irwin said. “Anytime you can get a group of high schoolers to not think about their next meal or girls, it’s pretty special.”  

He said their dedication to a rigorous practice regiment and how invested they all are in the championship made Irwin’s and the rest of the coaching staff’s jobs much easier.  

“I really haven’t had to remind the team to stay focused,” Irwin said. 

Irwin emphasized their commitment to practicing by referencing their 11-hour practice after Thanksgiving.   

“They don’t have to go to any of it, but they love it, and I put their names on a T-shirt if they complete it,” Irwin said.  

The idea started last season and was such a huge success that the team requested it again this year. 

He said that out of 47 swimmers on the team, a staggering 23 participated. 

This kind of dedication to practice is rare at the high school level and resembles a structure much closer to a Division I university. With another gruesome day ahead for the Cougars in the finals, the stars are aligning for Bloomington North to capture its fourth straight sectional title by outworking the competition and staying laser-focused on this task throughout the year. 

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