CHS swimmer dives into U.S. Olympic Trials


Photo by Bryan Flaherty/Washington Post. Used with permission.

Junior Hannah Lindsey reacts to qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Trials in the 200 meter backstroke at the NCSA Junior Nationals in Orlando

By Becky Wolfson, Production Editor

Eight years ago, teammates on her neighborhood swim team, Regency Estates, inspired junior Hannah Lindsey to begin swimming. She remains a part of that team to this day and has just qualified for the 2016 Olympic Trials.

Lindsey used to play basketball and practice taekwondo, but she realized her true passion for swimming when she first began at Regency Estates.

“I committed to swimming full time as soon as I started,” Lindsey said. “I fell in love with the sport the first day I practiced, so I decided to go all in with swimming.”

Commitment, love and dedication are just three factors that have contributed to 17-year-old Lindsey’s qualification for Olympic Trials in the 200 backstroke event.

“I know that qualifying for Olympic Trials was a goal of Hannah’s, so I was thrilled to see her achieve it,” swim and dive coach Christopher Tappis said. “I am also excited for her to be a captain next year, as there are not many schools in the area that can say they have an Olympic Trial qualifier as a captain. I think she will be a great leader for our team.”

Lindsey swam the event almost a second under the qualifying time of 2:16.59 at the National Club Swimming Association (NCSA) Junior Nationals March 18.

“I was in disbelief of what I had done after the race,” Lindsey said. “Before that swim, I had never been under 2:18 in the 200 backstroke, so going a 2:15.79 was just an all-around surprise. I wasn’t expecting to get the cut; I just wanted to do better than how I had done earlier. I felt like I was going pretty fast and could slightly see that I was ahead of the field, however I could have never predicted that I would get the trials cut by nearly a second.”

In addition to swimming for Regency Estates and CHS, Lindsey swims year-round for the All-Star Aquatics (ASA) club team.

“It is a great feeling to see a swimmer who puts in a lot of effort to reach their goals, and qualifying has been a goal of Hannah’s since the last Olympic Trials,” ASA coach Bob Walker said. “As a coach it is a great feeling seeing any athlete experience such a milestone.”

To prepare for her races, Lindsey completes a warm-up routine that is a combination of exercises and stretches. She also keeps a balanced diet and practices eight times a week, before and after school, averaging 7,000 yards per practice.

“What keeps me driven through tough practices is the pursuit to get to the next level,” Lindsey said. “I always know I can do better, and I know I can make each practice better than the last.”

According to Walker, Lindsey is exceptionally self-motivated and does not miss a practice.

To prepare for Olympic Trials next year in Omaha, Nebraska, from June 26 to July 3, Lindsey’s training pattern will be modified both in and out of the water to strengthen her weaker areas and polish her stronger suits. She will increase the intensity of her land training at the Bethesda Sports and Health gym.

“I want to be the best swimmer and athlete I can be at trials, and my training will represent that goal over the next 500 days,” Lindsey said.

This is just one milestone in Lindsey’s swimming career, and she will continue to rely on her mental strength to lead her to success.

“From a mental standpoint, Hannah is one of the toughest swimmers I have ever seen,” Tappis said. “She never goes into a race thinking she can’t win, even if it’s not one of her strongest events, which I really admire.”

Lindsey plans to swim in college and knows that regardless of where she ends up, swimming will always play a part in her life. As of right now, she is excited for trials and grateful for the support she has received from her family, friends and the swimming community.

“I want to continue to do well for the community and having their unconditional support means the world to me,” Lindsey said. “I couldn’t be any more grateful.”