The way her teammates see it, Raegan Bradley’s contributions to the Columbus East swimming program go beyond what she does in the water.
Although Bradley is one of the team’s top swimmers, she might be better known within the program for the comic relief she provides.
“She’s hilarious,” Abby Frazier said. “Between the sets (in practice), when we’re really tired, she’ll do something hilarious.
You start dying laughing, and you forget how tired you are.”
Bradley has a knack for keeping her teammates relaxed at meets, as well.
“I like to keep smiles on their faces,” Bradley said.
“I just like to joke around. I take things seriously, but I don’t keep things serious. If I’m too serious, then I won’t be excited for the race, and I won’t do well.”
“She has a great sense of humor,” East coach Jill Arnholt said. “She’s hysterical. The kids are laughing all the time. Everybody thinks she’s funny, and she gets along with the whole team.”
Bradley likes that team aspect.
“I think what keeps me excited in races and what keeps me going in swimming is the support from both the girls and the boys teams,” Bradley said. “It really makes us close like a family, and it’s amazing.”
As a freshman last year, Bradley was the Olympians’ leading point scorer. She qualified for the sectional finals in two individual events and a relay and finished 11th in the 200-yard individual medley and 15th in the 100 freestyle.
“She has a lot of potential,” Arnholt said. “She trains hard. She pushes herself, and she pushes the other people in her lane.
“I would like to see her get more amped up come meet time,” she said. “I’d like to see her get a little bit more passionate about it.”
Bradley said her best events are the 200 IM and 500 freestyle, and her favorite event is the 100 free and relays. She will swim the 200 IM and 500 free and possibly a relay or two in today’s Hoosier Hills Conference meet at East.
“She’s very versatile,” Arnholt said. “She loves relays. I can put her in about everything, and she does well for us.
“I think the longer the event, the better she is,” she said.
“In practice, it goes that way, too. When we have big sets like sets of 10 300s, when we have hard endurance distance sets, she excels in a set like that.”
In today’s HHC meet, Bradley is hoping to lower her personal-best of 6 minutes, 6 seconds in the 500 freestyle.
“I’d like to break 6 minutes in the 500,” Bradley said. “I haven’t been doing too well in the 100 free, so I’d like to get my time back down to a 1:02 or a 1:01.”
Bradley has been swimming with the Donner Swim Club since she was 3 and now swims with the club year-round.
“It takes up a lot of time out of your summer, so you have to sacrifice a few things like hanging out with friends and traveling,” Bradley said.
The 5-foot-1 Bradley, who plays baritone in East’s marching band, hopes to swim in college.
She isn’t sure what field she wants to enter.
“My dad has talked to me about a lot of things, and I feel like something interesting would be to go to the Coast Guard and be a rescue swimmer,” Bradley said.
And that’s no laughing matter.