The Olympic Trials: Senior Haley Downey makes it
November 3, 2015
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As she pulled herself out of the pool and looked at the clock, senior swimmer Haley Downey was overcome with happiness. She had won first place in the 200 Breaststroke, but that was not even the best part. Downey had qualified for the Olympic Trials, something a Bruin swimmer has never done before. The Bruin swim team was ecstatic, even the girl who had gotten second place to Downey ran over and gave her a hug of congratulations. Downey said that her cheeks were sore from smiling so much after winning the race that day.
“I had to keep checking the scoreboard to make sure it actually happened,” Downey said. “Once I got over the shock, I was hit with a wave of giddy excitement that I still get when thinking about the Trials.”
Downey’s qualifying time in the 200 Breaststroke was 2:34.85; the qualifying time for the Olympic trials was 2:34.99. The Olympic Trials competition will be help in Omaha, Nebraska, next June.
In addition to qualifying for the Olympic trials Downey has just committed to swim at the University of Kansas fall of next year.
Downey has been swimming for over 10 years, since she was in second grade. She is an active member of the National Honor Society, her youth group and even helps coach younger swimmers. Downey has won several awards throughout her high school career; these include Scholastic All-American swimmer, All-Metro Swimmer of the Year, “Most Valuable Swimmer,” Rotary Student of the Month, and she has even been on the honor roll all four years of her high school career. She was also a member of the high school state champion girls’ team last year.
“Winning High School State last year with only seven girls is easily my favorite moment,” Downey said. “Going into the meet as the underdogs, we really had to pull together as a team, and when we won, the sense of team pride and accomplishment was incredible.”
The average week for a swimmer includes 16 hours of practice Monday through Friday. They swim every day from 3-5:15 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday they have dryland practice, which means they lift weights, from 5:50-6:50 a.m. The swimmers even have a Saturday swim practice from 8-10:30 a.m. All this work definitely paid off for the swim team last year as the girls stole the State Championship, even when they came into the competition as the underdogs, and the boys swim team won State Runner-Ups.
“I am looking forward to finishing up a fantastic career as a Bruin swimmer,” Downey said,” and especially to the State Championship this spring where both the men’s and women’s teams are looking to dominate!”
Along with learning how to be an exceptional swimmer, Downey has learned many valuable lessons that she will use countless times throughout her entire life.
“Time management is really important; you have to take advantage of all the opportunities you have to do work and not procrastinate,” Downey said. “I have learned the importance of a positive attitude and dedication, tricky things to remember at 5 a.m. when you’re waking up to go to practice, and the significance of delayed gratification. It teaches you to embrace the journey, because when you love the process, results will follow.”
Downey has broken a barrier for the Bartlesville High School swim team, and she has inspired many of her teammates to fight to break barriers as well. Two more of the Bartlesville swimmers have been working hard to make it to the trials.
“I don’t expect to be alone in Omaha next summer…” Downey said.
Published in The 4th Estate on Oct. 30.