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Junior swimmers Emma Hastings and Madeline Smith announce D1 commitments

TUES. | 10-27-20 | SPORTS

     Juniors Emma Hastings and Madeline Smith, 2020 swimming state champions both have shown they have a bright future when it comes to swimming. Holding this title shows great possibilities for the two, noting that the previous state champion at Rose was Olympic swimmer Lauren Perdue. 

     This past week, Hastings and Smith both fulfilled their lifelong dreams of committing to college for swimming. Hastings committed to NC State University, the school she once hated as a child, but grew to develop a passion for after seeing its swim program.

     “I was the kid that always sang ‘Duke is puke, Wake is fake, and the team I hate is NC State’, Hastings said. “My friends and I went there for a camp one summer, and by the end of the camp I thought NC State was a really cool school and started going to the camp every summer.”


Picture taken by Noelle de Vente and edited by Emmy Ingalls

     Things looked a little different for Smith, as she was deciding between the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC State University and the University of Virginia. On Wednesday, Oct. 21, she announced that she had made her final decision to commit to the University of Virginia, the school that she felt would be the best fit for her. 

     “[I am most looking forward to] the new coaches and teammates and getting to live in Charlottesville,” Smith said. “It's really nice to see everyone that has supported me throughout the years be happy for my commitment and future at UVA. Go Hoos!” 

     Hastings and Smith are both very dedicated to swimming, practicing three and a half hours per day on weekdays and two hours on Sundays. Their practices are held both in the morning and at night. Their club team, East Carolina Aquatics (ECA) hosts eleven practices a week, but going to eleven practices a week will cause injuries since they are still growing. Hastings and Smith go to the most practices out of anyone else on the team varying from nine to ten a week.

     Both girls have to balance their competitive and intense swim practices with their academic workload. 

     Hastings is taking multiple AP classes at Rose right now and spends her whole day on campus, she has the balance of her school and swim schedule down to a science. 

     “My day goes: swim, school, homework, swim, homework, bed,” Hastings said. 

     On the other hand, Smith has a lighter load of school work that she has to balance with swimming. 

     “I wake up at 5:30 and go to bed at ten because I only take two classes at Rose and two Pitt classes,” Smith said. “My Pitt classes are pretty easy, so I usually finish all my weekly work on Monday or Tuesday.”

     Although both Hastings and Smith spend about the same amount of time in the pool, they have very different focuses. Hastings focuses more on distance freestyle swimming which includes the 200 meter (eight laps), the 500 meter (20 laps), the 1000 meter (40 laps) and the mile (66 laps). In contrast, Smith does short distance, so she does the 100 meter freestyle, 200 meter freestyle, the 200 meter backstroke and sometimes the 100 backstroke. 

     Since a very young age of 4, Hastings has always seen a possible professional future in her swimming career. 

     “I was always fast,” Hastings said. “I won the state championship when I was 12 and I medalled when I was 10 so I guess I always knew it was a possibility because I was always at the top.”

     This has not always been the case for Smith. She felt as if she had to work harder to get to the level that she is at today. 

     “I used to be bad at swimming, and then I started going to practices and then I really improved,” Smith said. 

     Getting to where they are today was not a process that the two could tackle alone. Both feel that their ECA coach, Casey Charles was a great motivator and influencer on their progress in the pool. 

     “He pulls us out of practice and talks to us and asks us what we’re doing, and gives us ways to help us through the process [of recruitment],” Hastings said. “Also, all of the other people that I have talked to that have gone through the process taught me what to expect and how to approach it.”

     Smith also feels like her family has had a great impact on her swimming career. They are helping direct her in the right direction when it comes to her future of swimming in college. 

     Being in the pool for the majority of their lives has taught Hastings and Smith some great life lessons, but they can both agree on the biggest lesson they learned.  

     “Practice pays off; for example, last summer, I swam awful,” Hastings said. “Then, when the next season came I did amazing; every morning, it is hard to get out of bed to go to practice, but you’ve gotta know that it’ll pay off.”

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