The hardest part of high school swimming for Columbus North sophomore Evan Patterson has been the everyday grind of consistently putting in the hard work during the season and in the offseason.

North coach Logan Schaefer said Patterson’s consistency in training has been a major factor in his success as a freshman and the success he’s had so far this season.

“He’s very coachable and has a large desire to improve across a broad front,” Schaefer said. “I think that learning curve is steady, and we’re continuing to ride, and it’s going to continue to rise as he goes through the program.”

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Patterson’s main events for the Bull Frogs are the 50-, 100- and 200-yard freestyle races. His main focus is the 100 and 200 freestyle because he said those are the two events that he most likely will swim during the postseason.

Patterson had a solid freshman year, but he came into this season looking to outdo his first high school season and is on his way to accomplishing that goal. He already has dropped his 200 freestyle time by about three seconds and his 100 freestyle time by a half-second. A lot of that can be credited to his hard work during the offseason.

“I just tried to work on my stroke and lengthening it out,” Patterson said. “My freshman year, my stroke was really short. I tried to focus on lengthening it out and making sure my stroke was as efficient as possible over the summer.”

Patterson had a few freshmen jitters when he competed in the conference, sectional and state prelims last season. He said competing in those meets was a big learning experience for him that he can use to perform even better the second time around.

“I feel like I’ll be a lot more confident those meets because I’ve already been there, and I’ve already been under the pressure of those meets,” Patterson said. “I feel like I’ll be able to handle the pressure and perform a lot better during those meets.”

He also is trying to use that experience to help calm the nerves of some of this year’s freshmen who will be competing in those meets for the first time. He has shared tips with his younger teammates of how he coped with the new experiences his freshman year and hopes that will help ease their minds.

Schaefer already is praising the young swimmer on his leadership capabilities, saying Patterson is striving to lead as a future captain for North and already is setting good examples for them to follow.

“Evan has developed into someone who has a desire to lead in all areas,” Schaefer said. “… It is exciting because we want to keep building and we know there are still things across the board that he can improve on quite a bit.”

Patterson is looking forward to his continued progress as a swimmer and has set individual season goals for himself that he feels he is on track to reach.

“I’ve been putting a lot of hard work in with my teammates, and I’m pretty excited to see how we all do, including me at the end of the season,” he said.

If you go

What: Conference Indiana boys and girls swimming and diving meet

When: 8 a.m. Saturday (diving), 1 p.m. Saturday (swimming)

Where: IUPUI’s Indiana University Natatorium

Teams: Columbus North, Bloomington North, Bloomington South, Franklin Central, Perry Meridian, Southport, Terre Haute North, Terre Haute South

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Frank Bonner is a sports writer for The Republic. He can be reached at fbonner@therepublic.com or 812-379-5632.