FLOYDS KNOBS — Physical differences exist between sprint athletes and endurance athletes, but there are typically distinct mental attributes for those who have success in the distance realm.

It would be tough to doubt Floyd Central’s Colleen Carey’s mental aptitude, considering her work in the classroom and beyond.

Carey, the No. 2 seed in the 500-yard freestyle in the Floyd Central Sectional that begins tonight, was described by coach Joe Perkins as a well-balanced student-athlete. She ranks eighth in her class with a 3.99 grade-point average (a 5.04 weighted GPA) in addition to collecting awards in the orchestra playing the cello and working as a swim instructor at Riverside Aquatic Club.

“To be a distance swimmer, you have to have that focus to be able to maintain things. To be able to count pace and understand how many 100s they’ve done, those sorts of things pay off over the years,” Perkins said.

Carey’s focus as a student should pay off as she studies biochemistry in college and plans to begin a career in medical research.

All impressive accomplishments to be sure. But Carey would love to add sectional champion to her high school narrative.

“My goal is just best times,” Carey said. “I’ve been on the 5:20 barrier in the 500 since my freshman year.”

“I’m trying to get down in the 5:18, 5:19s. My best time ever was last year in sectionals in the 200 and in the sectionals sophomore year in the 500. Hopefully, we’ll get two new lifetime bests this weekend.”

She was runner-up in the 500 freestyle in the Hoosier Hills Conference and runner-up in last year’s sectional with a time of 5 minutes, 20.77 seconds.

“Practices keep getting more intense each year. I’ve seen a lot of progress. My times have been consistently faster than a year ago,” Carey said.

A win would mean her first trip to the IUPUI Natatorium for the state finals as an individual. She had the opportunity to go with Floyd’s 200-yard freestyle relay team in 2018.

“It was so awesome. It’s a totally different competition, different teams that you don’t normally get to swim against. It was intense,” Carey said.

Perkins described Carey’s presence as the type of contribution integral to a championship culture.

“It’s been one of those things. We’ve watched her grow as a person and an athlete and a leader. I can point to kids as being a great student-athlete. She’s involved with extracurricular things that have led her to being a well-rounded person for us on the swim team,” Perkins said. “She’s just available to everybody. She’s a kid that you can count on to really work within the group, socialize and help anybody that would need it.”

Carey described it as collaborative leadership.

“All the seniors, one of our goals has been one team,” Carey said. “One atmosphere, where everybody feels comfortable talking to everybody else. They feel comfortable. We’ve really come together as a team. It’s been a really awesome season.”

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