Determined to succeed, he earned a berth in two events and another chance to satisfy a goal he's had since he started swimming in the eighth grade. When he takes the pool at the Indiana University Natatorium tonight in the preliminaries of the state meet, Radalia will have a shot at landing his name on the big board of records that hangs inside Homestead's home pool.
Radalia knew he was in for a special sectional meet when he kick-started his momentum with a great race in the 200 individual medley at the South Side Sectional. His finish was good enough to earn a berth at state with his best event, the 100 breast stroke, still to come.
“It started off with the 200 IM, and that was going to be my shaky event,” Radalia said. “I wasn't sure how I was going to do in that, but I ended up (swimming) a personal best by four seconds, and I was really excited about that.
“In prelims, I had a bad time (in the 100 breast), and it put me third. I was not very happy with that, and I told my coach I wasn't going to accept that. I was going to push myself, and I wasn't going to let anyone stop me in finals. And I did just that.”
Radalia's success and his chance to swim in the state meet are the culmination of a good dose of hard work and pushing himself to be like the numerous quality swimmers the Spartans turned out over the time he's been with the program.
Homestead coach Chad Englehart said Radalia's success has been no surprise to him, considering his desire and willingness to work despite barely making it into Homestead's main pool, which is for the varsity swimmers.
“Ethan's been one of our most dedicated and hardest workers for about three or four years now,” Englehart said. “Even from the first week or two he joined. He was one of the weakest swimmers we've ever had on the senior team, but he just kept coming and coming and really absorbed everything we could throw at him.
“Ethan's extremely bright, and what he's done over the last four years is take advantage of all his opportunities.” …Some swimmers may have started four years ahead of him but only taken advantage of half the opportunities he has. He's caught himself up quickly.”
Radalia's swimming career started basically on a whim at a time when he was looking for something to do to keep himself occupied.
“In eighth grade, I had a friend who recommended the swim team to me,” Radalia said. “I figured I wasn't doing anything with my time so ‘Why not, what's the worst that could happen?' I like the sport and the camaraderie, and I stuck with it. (My friend) ended up dropping out after freshman year, but I kept going, and I'm really glad that I did.”
Englehart said having Radalia on the team has been both special and beneficial.
“One of the things that makes it so special is he is the kind of kid you can build a program around,” Englehart said. “It's always nice to have great athletes and superstars, but it's extremely positive for the program if the kids that are the hardest workers end up being the most successful. That breeds more success by those kids that are the fringe athletes.”
The Radalia fileNext video game purchase: “StarCraft II”
Favorite subject: Calculus and physics. “I've always been a math person.”
College study plans: Mechanical Engineering
Mac or PC: PC. “I always found Macs to be sluggish.”
Favorite food: “Cheesy potatoes with sausage.”