Haley Hynes can exude confidence when she discusses her prospects and goals for the state swim meet. And she should – the Lee’s Summit North sophomore won two gold medals there last season and is expected to add more this weekend.
Hynes knows what to expect. Even so, Broncos coach Danielle Russell offers one observation many might not see in her star swimmer.
“She’s nervous,” Russell said.
That may seem hard to believe, as Hynes and the Broncos prepared to compete in the Missouri State Swimming and Diving Championships, which started today at the Rec-Plex in St. Peters, Mo. Hynes has the top qualifying times in the 200-yard individual medley and 100 backstroke, the two events she won last year. And with one state meet already under her belt, she certainly knows what she’s getting into.
Therein, Russell believes, lies the reason for her nervousness.
“She’s nervous in that she knows what she has to do,” Russell said. “She knows she’s capable of doing it, but she also knows that she has to do it.
“She went in as a freshman and did something that nobody in the city of Lee’s Summit has ever done and how do you come back as sophomore and top something like that?”
Hynes took the 200 IM last year in 2 minutes, 4.76 seconds and the 100 back in 55.11 seconds. She won both events in the Suburban Conference meet two weeks ago, and she comes to state with the fastest qualifying times in both events.
All of which, of course, makes her a bigger target. Hynes realizes this, and that also adds to the pressure.
“There’s definitely a lot more pressure,” Hynes said. “I can just feel it from the other girls. They definitely want to beat me.
“I think having the experience helps, because some girls might not go as fast in prelims because they’re saving it up for finals. I need to look out for that. I kind of feed off the other girls. If they really want to beat me than I’ll just try twice as harder.”
If Hynes is feeling any added stress, Russell is certain she can handle it. A year round swimmer with the KC Blazers club, she has seen her share of big meets. On top of all that, she’s having fun.
“She’s an incredible athlete and she has the most fun, upbeat attitude,” Russell said. “If she’s having a good time, enjoying the atmosphere and the excitement that’s around it, then she’s at her best state of mind.”
Besides Hynes, Russell is also expecting big things from North’s 200 IM and 200 freestyle relay teams, both of which won conference titles and set new school records this season. Hynes will join Jennifer Gray, Kristen Herrick and Nicole Voss on the 200 IM team, while Sydney Bresette will replace Voss on the 200 free.
“We’ve definitely waited to show our peak performance,” Russell said. “And that’s why they’re so pumped right now.”
Lee’s Summit West is also excited about its chances for medals. Sophomore Sarah Raymond qualified in the 100 butterfly for the second time and 200 freestyle. Raymond, the conference champion in the 100 butterfly, broke the school record in the 200 free earlier this season.
The Titans also have freshman Madeleine Hosick in the 500 freestyle and 100 backstroke and divers Delaney Pummill, a senior competing in her third state meet, and freshman Haley Johns. West also qualified its 200 medley, 200 freestyle an 400 freestyle relays.
Lee’s Summit has three individual qualifiers in Sidney Drew (100 back and 200 IM), Georgia Gettys (100 back) and Katie Gray (200 freestyle). Megan Black, Ashley Roth, Alaina Keel, Emily Franciskato and Sydney Butler will compete on the Tigers’ 200 freestyle, 200 IM and 400 freestyle relay teams.