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Athlete of The Week


Staying a lap ahead



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Haley VanBuskirk competes in the state championship. Photo provided (click for larger version)
April 10, 2013 - Haley VanBuskirk finished her swim season the top eighth in the state for 10 and under girls division in state championship at Kentwood.

"I was really excited," she smiled. "I felt like crying from happiness. It was an exciting moment and it was my first time being up there."

She qualified for 12 events in the meet - but was only allowed to swim in up to six events.

During the championship meet, VanBuskirk placed second in the 500-yard freestyle at 5:54.41; third in the 100-yard Individual Medley, 1.11:60; fifth in the 200-yard Individual Medley, 2:33.51; sixth in the 50-yard freestyle, 28.44; sixth in the 200-yard freestyle, 2:13.78, and ninth in the 100-yard freestyle, 1:02.86.

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Her times in the 500-yard and 200-yard freestyle events were also sectional times, the highest National Time Standard for 10 and Under.

She has seven events she has a Central Zone time which is the second highest national time standard.

VanBuskirk added the 500-yard freestyle and 200-yard IM because those are her favorite events because she enjoys swimming in the distance events.

"I can keep my pace for a long time," she said. "Also, in the 200-yard IM I am good at all the strokes and I can keep my momentum. I dropped a lot of time. I think it's because there was more pressure on me and I was working harder."

Her favorite event when she began swimming was the 50-yard freestyle because the distance was shorter.

"It is only two laps," she smiled. "I have grown to enjoy distance."

This was the second state championship she has competed in. Her first was last year. She swam for the Clarkston Sea Wolves for five years and just joined Liquid Lightning.

For aspiring athletes, she said never to give up. One of the obstacles she faced during the season was change of coaches.

"I really was attached to one of the coaches," she said. "It was a little emotional. It got in my head and I wasn't doing well."

Her parents, Rick and Valerie, helped to pull her out of it.

"Just talking about it really helped me," Haley added. "Plus they say, practice doesn't make perfect it's how much effort you put into practice will make you perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect."

Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.
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