Published on Tuesday, December 2, 2014 by Robert Morgan
Stepping up to the block prepping to swim his leg in the relay, senior Harrison Jones puts on his goggles and gets in the zone to dive in the pool as soon as his teammate reaches the wall. Splashes from swimmers, whistles form coaches, cheers from fans, and buzzers surround him, but these distractions don’t phase him as he dives into the pool and earns yet another personal record.
“I like the challenge swimming brings,” Harrison said. “There’s a serenity and peace to it that you have in the water.”
For the past nine and a half years, Harrison has swam for both the school swim team and the club swim team. Combining these two programs, Harrison has developed into one of the top swimmers in the state.
“Club swimming set up my entire basis for swimming – my technique, speed, and endurance,” Harrison said. “Swimming for the school has helped me see all the sides of the swim world and it has helped me develop as a swimmer to compete in these events.”
Harrison has become a successful swimmer, both earning the state title and competing at Junior Nationals, which pushed him into more competitive environments to show him a different perspective in competition.
“It’s different competing in club events than competing at school events because there are a lot of fast people,” Harrison said. “You realize that you may be the fastest in your area, but then you go and see the skills that other swimmers have. It’s cool to see the competition and get feedback from your peers and coaches.”
Swimming is a sport that takes a lot of responsibility and is a major time commitment for students. Harrison has experienced the struggle of trying to balance schoolwork and his sport, but has also learned valuable lessons through these trials.
“I think swimming helps with schoolwork because you realize that you have to manage your time,” Harrison said. “You learn that, as soon as a teacher gives an assignment, you need to start working on it. You have to balance it by doing it in little increments. You try not to mess up your practice regimen, but you have to put schoolwork as a priority.”
Looking beyond his time at Bryan High, Harrison has decided to pursue swimming in college. He signed with Louisiana State University earlier this semester with hopes of having a successful post-secondary career.
“I decided to swim for LSU because of the coaching staff, academics, and the team atmosphere that LSU has,” Harrison said. “I want to go on with swimming after college, but I don’t know yet, I have to see what my experience is with swimming at the collegiate level.”
While recruiting Harrison, the LSU swimming department saw the potential that Harrison has. Both Harrison and the department will work together to further both of their success.
“Harrison was a key pick up for us,” LSU swim coach Dave Geyer said. “With his past few seasons of swimming and progression, Harrison has a very bright future in the sport and we look forward to working with him [at LSU].”
Swimming day in and day out can get tiring, but Harrison enjoys the challenges that it poses and looks forward to his daily routine.
“I get up, make my food, and go to the pool. After I get done swimming, I shower and head to school,” Harrison said. “I go through the school day and then go back to practice. I swim and swim and swim and then go home and rest. My routine is beneficial because it helps keeps structure throughout my day.”
Those who swim with Harrison and get to work with him everyday see the techniques that he uses and build off their experiences to better themselves individually, as well as the team as a whole.
“As an individual, Harrison pushes me to do better,” junior Marco Gutierrez said. “I enjoy watching him swim because he does every little thing correct. He swims with good integrity and sets a good example for the other swimmers to succeed.”
For those looking into competing in collegiate level sports, Harrison offers advice from his experience in selecting a college and finding the drive to compete.
“[Those who want to play sports in college] need to pick a team that you fit in well with and can see yourself at for 4 years,” Harrisons said. “Don’t give up on your goals. Even though it will be hard, it’s worth it in the end.”