Freshman Siobhán Haughey had a lot to celebrate this weekend.
On Saturday, while Haughey celebrated her 18th birthday, she also pulled off three first-place finishes against No. 4 Virginia and No. 20 Penn State in the two-day tri-meet in Ann Arbor. Her first-place finishes came in the 200-yard individual medley (1:57.20), the 100-yard freestyle (48.45) and the 400-yard medley relay (3:37.06). She also claimed a second-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle relay (1:31.68).
Day two of the meet on Sunday featured similar results for Haughey, who finished in first place in the 200-yard freestyle (1:46.31) and in second as a part of the 200-yard medley relay (1:40.36).
Michigan coach Mike Bottom spoke of her stellar performance, calling this weekend’s meet Haughey’s coming-out party.
Haughey, a native of Hong Kong, is not new to swimming at a highly competitive level. Before her arrival at Michigan, she had competed in a International Swimming Federation World Championship meet in Kazan, Russia. There, her performance qualified her for the Rio Olympic Games in 2016. She is the first swimmer from Hong Kong to make the Olympic-qualifying standard.
For the 2016 Summer Olympics, an ‘A’ standard for women’s 200-meter freestyle swimming is below 2:14.26. All Olympic athletes must achieve at least a ‘B’ standard to qualify, but her ‘A’ standard guarantees her a spot on the Olympic team.
“I never thought I could accomplish something like that,” Haughey said. “Even after accomplishing something so huge, my goal is to keep improving myself.”
Despite her personal accolades, Haughey has embraced her role as as a team member. She believes that there is greater support from her teammates at the collegiate level than with international competition.
“It’s very different because it’s more about the team rather than yourself,” Haughey said. “Everyone is here supporting and cheering for each other.”
Haughey has captivated many, including her coach.
“There’s a lot of things that make her special,” Bottom said. “She’s a wonderful, humble and dedicated person. She’s dedicated to her studies, the community, and her team. She’s shown she’s adjusted very well. … She’s only going to get better.”
With the season barely underway, Haughey has shifted her focus to success at Michigan rather than the 2016 Olympics. Though she’s eager to compete, she wants to place emphasis on having a good season and bonding with her fellow team members. Performances like this weekend’s will only help.