MUNSTER | Munster is well-known for its age-group swimming program, training countless prospective swimmers from a young age in preparation for the rigors of high school competition at a school known for its storied swimming history.
However, Seahorses junior Collin Sroge is cut from a different cloth.
Sroge grew up playing basketball, baseball and soccer and didn't give swimming a try until his sister, Laine, urged him to jump in the water and compete for the first time at age 12.
Now, Sroge has emerged as one of the best distance swimmers on a Seahorses' squad that hopes to defend its Northwest Crossroads Conference title Saturday.
"I feel really good about my swimming now," Sroge said. "I'm up with the big guys now. I'm up with Joey Gardner and Wilson Beckman. Freshman year, I couldn't even come close to them, and now I'm on their tail."
As a freshman, Sroge typically swam the 500 free in a little less than six minutes. He has since cut that time to a personal best 5:02.
His 200 free has dropped from around 2:10 to 1:51 in that same span. Both of those PRs came in a Jan. 23 dual meet against Lake Central.
"He's having a really good year," Munster coach Matt Pavlovich said. "He's been steadily improving and really stepping up for us. It's a testament to his hard work and his attitude. He's got a lot to be proud of, and we're proud of him, too."
The 500 free is the marathon of swimming.
Swim it too fast, and you'll fizzle out at the end. Sroge's discipline has helped him become a good distance swimmer.
"It's really hard," he said. "You have to know when to push yourself, how hard to push yourself, when too much is, and to be able to stay through the entire time."
At last season's Crown Point Sectional, Sroge placed 11th in the 500 free (5:15.23) and seventh in the 200 free (1:56.99).
His personal bests this season would put him in the top five for both events. He may have a spot on the 400 free relay, as well, an event he has participated in during recent dual meets.
"I obviously want to do better at sectionals and place higher in both of my events," Sroge said. "If I try hard enough, I can be on the 400 free relay and we can possibly take that relay to state and do something with that."