When Munster’s Jillian Homans signed her letter of intent to swim at the University of Toledo last week, she had an understandable mix of emotions.
"I felt excited to realize my dream of swimming in college," Homans said. "But I also realized that my high school career was winding down."
But the record-holding senior does not plan to go out with a whimper.
"I truly believe we have a top five team this year," Homans said. "We have a lot of experience coming back and a lot of talent."
The fact that "we" is one of the first words out of her mouth is why coach Matt Pavlovich is excited to have Homans as a captain for the second-straight year.
"You always look for leadership out of your captains," Pavlovich said. "Jillian is a natural leader. But what also makes her extra special is the way she holds the team together during challenges."
Pavlovich referred to Homans as the glue that keeps things together.
"Jillian leads by example, as well as in the water," Pavlovich said. "She is very open-minded to coaching ideas, very receptive to new concepts. The other girls see that, and it helps the team."
In the first three years of her high school career, Homans has won 10 sectional medals — six relays and four individual events.
A distance swimmer, Homans holds the team record in the 500-meter freestyle (5 minutes, 16.04 seconds) and the 200 (1:52.64).
"Swimming has helped me in many ways outside of the pool," Homans said. "It has taught me discipline and to be goal-oriented. The benefits I have received were worth all of the work."
That dedication and discipline will help in college, where Homans plans to study nursing.
"My mom is a nurse, and I want to be like her," Homans said.
Munster finished seventh in state last year, so a top five finish is a realistic goal.
"We have a really good team," Homans said. "And we have a lot of senior leadership that can help the younger swimmers understand what it takes to make it that far."