Scout Perryman’s goal of swimming in college started to become a possibility when he consistently cut down his times during his senior season at Hays High.

The opportunity to be part of a brand-new program was a bonus for Perryman, who signed a letter of intent with Sterling College on Thursday.

Next year will be the inaugural swimming season for Sterling.

“I thought it would be really special being a part of the first swim team. I think that’s a pretty amazing opportunity,” Perryman said. “I just felt that Sterling was the best fit. It’s a nice Christian school. I really like the college.”

Perryman competed in the 50-yard free, 100 freestyle and 100 butterfly as well as two relays for the Indians.

 “I think I always had that dream to swim in college, I just never thought I was quite ready until this year when I got my times down pretty low,” Perryman said.

“I had days when I was doing three practices a day,” Perryman added. “It’s because I just really wanted to improve for the season.”

The significance of a Hays High swimmer moving on to compete at college is not lost on Perryman, who hopes the program will continue to grow.

“I’ve always been a big advocate for swimming,” Perryman said. “My freshman year, there were five kids on the team. We had 22 kids on the team this year. I really hope that me signing with Sterling is a ripple effect to get more kids out for swimming. I take immense pride in this.”

Hays High coach Faith Schindler agreed that sending a swimmer to the college level is a big feat for the program.

“There’s an emergence along the smaller schools of swim teams coming about, so that’s really exciting to see because it’s not a very popular thing around here,” said Schindler, who coached the Hays High boys last year and is an assistant coach for the girls team. “To be able to send someone to swim, especially at a Kansas school, is really something special.”

Schindler said Perryman’s work ethic will suit him well in college.

“He’s a hard worker, that’s the biggest thing about him that I’ve always liked,” Schindler said. “He’s willing to come in early in the morning, stay after practice and do whatever he needs to do to improve and make himself faster.”

Perryman said he’s eager for the experience of competing in college meets for the Warriors, who will be coached by Gary Kempf.

“It’s super exciting to swim in high school meets, so I can’t fathom what it would be like at the college level,” Perryman said. “I’ve asked coach Kempf to send me some workouts and I’ve been doing those and I’m really going to put in the work this summer and hopefully be ready for next year.”