It would be easy for Lee’s Summit North High School sophomore Haley Hynes to say she will simply shrug off the pressure that comes along with swimming in the Missouri State High School Activities Association Swimming and Diving Championships Feb. 21-22 in St. Peters, Mo. After all, she won two events there last season, capping a remarkable first year of high school swimming.
By SAM MCDOWELL
The Kansas City Star
Easy, perhaps. But not exactly accurate.
In fact, the pressure started early this season for Hynes despite her past success, and it has only mounted with each passing day. After capturing gold in both the 200-yard individual medley and 100 backstroke events at the state meet last season, the expectations are a bit high. To say the least.
“I really have to try a lot harder this year because it’s a lot of pressure now,” Hynes said. “I have so much expectation to fulfill. Winning state as a freshman in two events is pretty big. Now I feel like I have the responsibility to win it again. I think it would almost feel weird if I didn’t.”
Hynes, who was named The Star’s All-Metro swimmer of the year last season, is on the right track again after winning both events at the Suburban Gold Conference swimming championships last Saturday at the Henley Aquatic Center in Independence.
And she made it look relatively easy.
Hynes finished the 200 medley in 2 minutes, 7.1 seconds, which was more than eight seconds better than second-place Corinne Rinne of Blue Springs.
In the 100 backstroke, her time of 55.21 seconds beat second-place Kayla Cannon of Blue Springs South by more than five seconds.
But success at the conference meet doesn’t always equate to another successful day at the state championships next week.
Nobody needs to tell Hynes that.
“I tried to save up for state this year because I didn’t do as well at state last year as I did in conference,” Hynes said. “In the next two weeks, I’ll have plenty of time to get myself rested.”
As if the pressure weren’t high enough already, Hynes has set quite a lofty goal for the state meet.
“I’m going to try to break the state record in the 100 (backstroke),” she said.
Her preparation over the next two weeks will revolve around setting that goal.
“It’s really just mental,” Hynes said. “I’ve been stressing about it because I have a lot of eyes on me. I feel like I need to show people I can do it again.”
Lee’s Summit West outfielder Monte Harrison is ranked as the 41st best baseball prospect in the high school class of 2014, according to rankings released last week by Perfect Game, an independent scouting service.
Harrison signed a letter of intent Feb. 5 to attend the University of Nebraska, where he plans to play both baseball and football.
Considered a five-tool outfielder, Harrison was clocked at throwing 97 miles per hour from the outfield during the Perfect Game National Showcase, certainly boosting his stock as a baseball prospect.
He batted .457 with six home runs for the Titans last spring.