Record-setting Barrington star Sophie Swanson is a natural leader

The big numbers and major awards on Sophie Swanson’s resume seem endless.

SHARE Record-setting Barrington star Sophie Swanson is a natural leader
Barrington’s Sophie Swanson plays against Maine South.

Barrington’s Sophie Swanson plays against Maine South.

Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

The big numbers and major awards on Sophie Swanson’s resume seem endless.

Barrington’s program record holder for points in a game (40) and a season (750). Nearly 1,400 career points through three seasons (one of which was shortened due to COVID). Double-digit Division I offers.

Mid-Suburban League Player of the Year. First-team all-state honors from the Associated Press and the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association. A rare underclass winner of Ms. Basketball.

And plenty of winning: the Fillies went 30-6 and finished runner-up to Stevenson in Class 4A last season.

But for all the obvious evidence of Swanson’s elite status, coach Babbi Barreiro has seen much more quiet proof of Swanson’s leadership qualities.

Last weekend, Barrington had back-to-back losses to Fremd on Friday and Lake Zurich on Saturday.

“That [Saturday] night everybody goes home, kind of hanging their heads kind of thing,” Barreiro said. “She sends a text out later in the evening, saying, ‘Hey, we’re 8-4, we’re OK. Just everybody take a beat and understand it’s early in the season. It’s not where we are right at this minute, it’s that we’re getting better. ... So just everyone relax, we’re going to be fine.’”

Swanson said she was thinking about the Lake Zurich loss before deciding to share those thoughts.

“I knew I was down about it and I know a couple of other players were [too],” she said. “I thought, I would like to receive that text, so I thought sending it out would be a good idea just to get us all on the same page. Just to not dwell on the losses and move forward to the next game.”

It wasn’t the first time Swanson took ownership of her leadership role. Earlier in the season, the Fillies lost to Libertyville on a foul and free throws in the final second.

Barreiro said Swanson’s first reaction was to console her teammate charged with the foul. “[Swanson] goes right out there, grabs her, puts her arm around her, walks her off the floor and says, ‘Hey, listen, this is part of the game. There’s good moments and bad moments.’”

And Swanson reminded the teammate of the steal she made to help tie the game.

And again, all that leadership is backed up by an exceptional skill set. Swanson is a guard with the height (5-10) to help defend the post. And she can score from anywhere on the court.

But ask Swanson how her game has grown from when she jumped right into the starting lineup as a freshman and now, and it’s the inner point guard that comes out.

“Definitely finding my teammates,” she said. “Growing up, becoming more mature, just becoming a more consistent all-around player.”

Swanson will take her game to Purdue next season, joining several other Big Ten recruits from lllinois: Carmel’s Jordan Wood (Michigan State), Hersey’s Katy Eidle (Michigan), Libertyville’s Emily Fisher (Maryland) and Benet’s Lenee Beaumont (Indiana).

“The rivalry, it’s fun because most of us played AAU together,” Swanson ssid. “It’s always fun to play against them because AAU is over and this will be our last time playing each other in high school [But] we’ll see each other in the Big Ten.”

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