On the fly | TheUnion.com

On the fly

Haley Porter doesn’t make audacious predictions about qualifying for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

She’s all about making the 2012 games in London.

The 15-year-old Nevada Union sophomore swimmer, who already holds three school records, will compete later this month in the club national championships in Long Island, N.Y. Fast times at nationals can qualify swimmers for the U.S. Olympic Trials.

“I’m nervous just ’cause it’s the biggest meet that I’ve ever been to,” Porter said. “This one is more for experience, just to get used to being at big meets like this, so I’m not really that nervous. I’m more excited.”

Porter expects more meets of the same magnitude to be in her future, and hopefully, she says, she’ll make it to the biggest meet of all.

“I don’t know right now,” Porter said of the Olympics. “It might take a little bit of time, but eventually, yeah. … I don’t think 2008; I think more like 2012.”

Porter qualified for the national championships at the sectional championships at Long Beach in early March. It was her 100-yard freestyle race that earned her a spot in nationals, where she’ll also race in the 50-freestyle and 100-butterfly races.

Her Nevada Union records – all of which she set as a freshman – are in the same three events: 24.54 seconds in the 50 freestyle, 53.16 in the 100 freestyle, and 59.97 in the 100 butterfly.

The records Porter broke stood for close to 20 years, according to Miners coach John Sultan.

“I would say currently she’s one of the top five sprinters in California in high school,” Sultan said.

Sultan is also one of Porter’s coaches on the Penguin Swim Team, which she’ll represent at the national championships. Porter, who lives in Weimar, first swam for Penguin when she was eight, although she began her competitive-swimming career as a 4-year-old with the Colfax Barracudas.

Much of Porter’s instruction comes from Larry Gruver, another Penguin coach.

“He’s kind of the one that pushes me,” Porter said of Gruver. “He’s the one who travels to all the meets. I don’t think he’s into coaching everyone else, but he’s staying there for me.”

With Gruver’s guidance, Porter has set five Penguin Swim Team records (50 freestyle, 100 freestyle, 200 freestyle, 100 butterfly, 200 butterfly).

She’s the youngest Penguin or NU swimmer to qualify for the national championships. If Porter swims well enough at the national championships, which begin March 27, she could become the youngest swimmer from Nevada County to qualify for the Olympic Trials, according to Sultan.

Like Porter, Sultan feels she’ll have a better shot at the 2012 games.

“We had Whitney Stephenson (class of 2006) who was very good, and now she’s at USC,” Sultan said. “She went to the NCAA championships last week. She’s probably the other girl who had the most potential, and she’s still swimming well in college.

“Hayley’s by far the most talented girl we’ve had in our program at that age. To qualify for senior nationals at 15 is a pretty amazing accomplishment.”


To contact Sports Writer Jeff Miller, e-mail jeffm@theunion.com or call 477-4247.

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