Even in difficult times, Roos finds positives

Herald File Photo by Daniel Vasta
Heritage Hills' swimmer Ethan Roos has had to deal with his fair share of battles both in and outside of the pool. The junior was diagnosed with Crohn's Colitis last year which caused him to miss a significant amount of time in the pool. While he's still had several flare-ups since, he had what he called his best meet of the year at last weekend's IHSAA Sectional meet at Jasper as he advanced to Friday's State Finals meet as a member of the 200 freestyle relay team.


Ethan Roos has had to deal with his fair share of battles this past year.

The Heritage Hills junior swimmer was diagnosed with Crohn’s Colitis last year which is a mix of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Throughout all of the treatments and all of the ups and downs, Roos has always remained positive as he referred to the disease as “the best of both worlds.”

“I just always want to keep it optimistic,” said Roos, who advanced to the IHSAA Boys Swimming State Finals this Friday as a member of the 200 freestyle relay team with Gavin Fuchs, Josh Halvorson and Noah Collignon. Fuchs also advanced to state in the 100 butterfly and Dominic Williams qualified in the 100 breaststroke.

“I’ve always tried to take the high road about everything — I just say it’s an amazing little science experiment I’m doing since I always have to go up to Riley (Children's) Hospital for my treatments and things like that.”

It was last February when Roos started to notice that he wasn’t feeling the greatest.

While at first he thought he maybe had just caught some flu-like symptoms from some friends who were just getting over the illness, he realized rather quickly that it was something more serious.

“Once those symptoms continued throughout the entire sectional and just kept going for weeks and weeks, I knew I had to tell somebody,” Roos said. “There was no reason that the flu would last that long.”

Roos still swam at last year’s sectional meet (he finished 6th in the 100 butterfly and 7th in the 100 breaststroke) but he noticed that he was starting to feel like he wasn’t up to full strength.

He had planned to still swim throughout the summer after that for his club season but he knew that unfortunately, that wasn’t going to be possible.

“My body just couldn’t take it,” Roos said. “I mentally wanted to do it but physically, my parents and doctors wouldn’t let me.”

For his treatments and checkups, Roos often went to Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis.

While he could’ve let the constant checkups and visits bother him, Roos actually started to look forward to them.

“Someday, I want to be a physician or a doctor and Riley’s is a teaching hospital so there’s always new doctors in training when I visit,” Roos said. “I always say that it’s nice to get this early learning experience. I get to see these beautiful hospitals and learn all these amazing things and (the doctors) are always so great to me — I can ask them anything and everything and they’re always grateful to help.”

Roos started to practice at the beginning of this season but he was limited to just one or two practices a week but they were never full practices.

He also begin to transition into focusing on new events including the 50 freestyle and being a part of the 200 freestyle relay.

“Normally, I was a 200 individual medley swimmer or 100 butterfly swimmer but those are two of the most enduring events in the sport so I haven’t been able to keep up with the endurance that I would need,” Roos said. “Since I’ve transitioned, it’s gone very seamlessly and I’ve actually been able to cut insane amounts of times and been really fast. I really excelled once I started to focus on it.”

After Roos and the 200 freestyle relay team placed first at last Saturday’s sectional meet, his busy day wasn’t quite done yet.

Later that evening, Roos spoke at Heritage Hills’ Riley Dance Marathon event. The event raised $4,936 dollars and Roos had the event’s second highest donation total with $650.

“I speak anywhere and everywhere I can, just because I feel like it’s a great opportunity for me to learn and better myself for the future,” Roos said.

Even though the sectional meet has been over for almost a week now, he finds himself being congratulated by someone new almost everyday.

“Just the other night, I was at my little sister’s talent show and I had people coming up to me like ‘Oh my gosh, you’re going to state!’,” Roos said. “It’s crazy to think about it — hardly anyone goes to state so the fact that we get to go is awesome.”

With one more year of high school swimming still to go, Roos is rather excited for what the future holds for himself and his teammates.

In fact, he believes it has the potential to be legendary.

“Some records are going to be shattered, I hope,” Roos said with a laugh. “I’m really excited, I can’t wait.”

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