A true Leader: freshman proves to be important asset to the state champion swim team


courtesy of HC Athletics

The boys swim team celebrated with their coaches in a cold bath after winning the state title on Feb. 28.

On Feb. 28, the boys’ swim and dive team took home the first place trophy at the state competition after two grueling days of swimming. The championship team consisted of three seniors, three juniors, two sophomores, and only one freshman: Billy Leader.

Leader was the breaststroker for the 200 medley relay, which placed second overall in the state. In the day leading up to the swim, Leader shared his thoughts on the team and excitement.

“This team was a lot closer than I heard it would be,” Leader said. “It certainly was a lot closer than any club team I’ve been on. The coaches are so well qualified, and they really know what they are doing. I thought most of our practices were hard, but they really did the trick.”

From a very young age, Leader was an accomplished swimmer.

“I started swimming at the age of six,” Leader said. “I’ve always enjoyed doing breaststroke more than the other ones, even at that age. I remember making state cuts for my age group ever since I was a little kid.”

The state meet is notorious for being a very intense meet, especially for a freshman.

“I remember going to state my freshman year and thinking just how intense and large this meet was,” said Craig Smith,  junior and backstroker for the 200 medley relay. “There are literally 30 teams there with guys that all want to win the first place trophy. It is a really tense atmosphere, but nobody has too many expectations for freshmen. There’s slightly more focus on the juniors and seniors.”

Smith expressed that Leader was an integral addition to the team.

“Billy was incredibly crucial in helping our relay place second and securing a first place spot for our entire team,” Smith said. “He surprised everybody with his incredible swim. It’s always awesome to see freshmen get attention when there are so many good juniors and seniors out there.”

With the season’s end, Billy Leader now looks forward to next season as a more experienced high school swimmer.