With two older sisters who swam competitively, becoming a "pool junkie" was a natural fit for Crown Point's Hannah Raspopovich.
"Both of my sisters (Molly and Gabby) were swimmers, so I wanted to swim, too," Raspopovich said. "I started when I was 5, and I have been swimming ever since."
The Times No. 3 Bulldogs are glad she followed suit.
Raspopovich has proved to be a big-time winner for the program. She has captured three sectional titles, with one more shot this weekend at the Crown Point Sectional. She has also qualified for state all three years in both of her main events, the 50 free and the 100 breast.
"I have been very fortunate," Raspopovich said. "I learned early that succeeding at swimming took a lot of hard work, and I dedicated myself to it. All of the hard work has paid off."
As a freshman, Raspopovich won her first sectional in the 50 free with a time of 24.57 seconds. After finishing second as a sophomore, she stormed back to regain her title last year (23.89).
"I like to sprint, because I can go full out for the whole race, and not have to worry about timing myself," Raspopovich said. "My freestyle stroke works well for short distances."
Raspopovich always liked the breaststroke. She claimed a sectional championship in the 100 breast last year with a time of 1:06.35.
"Ever since I was little I really loved the breaststroke," she said. "I was really glad I was able to get back to swimming it in high school. I always had a lot of success in that event."
Her swimming skills are only part of the story, according to Crown Point coach Bryon Angerman.
"Hannah is great leader for this young team," Angerman said. "She's a captain this year and takes the role seriously. She does a lot of work with our younger girls and talks to them a lot. Her leadership skills have made us a better team."
Raspopovich agreed with Angerman's assessment.
"Being a captain is something I take to heart," she said. "I feel the the younger members of our team are watching how I conduct myself -- in practice, when I lose, when I have a bad swim. It's important to establish for them how to conduct yourself. We all look good when we win."
That mature attitude spread beyond the Crown Point campus. Raspopovich earned a combination athletic and academic scholarship to the University of Akron.
"I'm really excited to be able to join the Zips," said Raspopovich, who will study nursing. "It's even better, because I will be able to swim with (sister) Molly for one year before she graduates."
But Raspopovich has a few things to wrap up before she heads east.
"As a team, we want to finish in the top 10 at state this year," Raspopovich said. "We think we can do it. We also want to finish as the highest team from the region. With Chesterton and Munster, that will be challenging, but we did a lot to close the gap between us and them this year. We could pull it off."
Raspopovich also wants a top-eight finish in the 50 free.
"It would be a great way to end my high school career," She said. "I'd like to go out with a win."