Harrison headed to NCAA Championships
Published: Friday, March 15, 2013
Updated: Friday, March 15, 2013 04:03
Freshman Sammy Harrison, has qualified for the coveted NCAA Championships in Indianapolis, Indiana on Thursday. Her time of 16:17.78 in the 1,650-yard freestyle at the Pac-12 Championships not only blew the other swimmers out of the water, it was also nearly 10 seconds faster than the previous Oregon State record holder.
“Leading up to [the race] I was just thinking about how it’s all in the training,” Harrison said. “I knew there was nothing I could change at that point and I just had to leave it all in the pool.”
Harrison did exactly that. Not only did she break a school record, her race time is also the 35th-fastest all-time nationally. Because Harrison is only a freshman and has already broken multiple school records at the collegiate level. It seems as if her ceiling is only rising.
“I’m proud of all the work I’ve put in this season but I do owe a lot to my team and their support over the last couple of months,” Harrison said.
Although swimming may be viewed as an individual sport, the Beavers have taken to treating it as more of a team sport. From early on in the season, teammates encouraged each other at practice as if they were playing a sport in which teamwork was vital, such as basketball or volleyball.
“The number one goal this year is to really get everyone to work together, learn how to appreciate each other, and really learn how to be a team,” said head coach Larry Liebowitz before the Pac-12 Championships.
Even though the swimmers may have learned how to make a team sport out of individual competition, the fact still remains that only one person can swim.
“It’s lonely at practice since there’s no one else here,” Harrison said.
She was the only OSU swimmer to qualify for the championships. “I’ll have to go to the meet by myself, and stay in a hotel room by myself, so I kind of wish I had a few people to go with me.”
Harrison is also just one of 55 freshmen invited to the NCAA Championships and 281 swimmers overall. Harrison is indifferent, not intimidated about the daunting task of racing against the fastest swimmers in the nation.
“[I am] a little bit, but not too much because we swam in the Pac-12 [Championships] and the top swimmers were there as well,” Harrison said.
The championship meet will commence on Thursday, and is scheduled to end on March 23. A full schedule of events and times will be posted on the NCAA official swimming website.
Darryl Oliver III, sports reporter