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Friday, June 29, 2012

Alyssa And Haley Anderson, A Family Affair In London

Haley Anderson’s chances to do well at the Olympics just got a boost. By her older sister.

Her sister Alyssa also just qualified for her first USA Olympic team in the 800 freestyle relay at last night’s USA Olympic Swim Trials and will join her in London.

"My family is going to London; parents, sisters, aunts. About ten people I think," Haley explained.

"We’re so excited to go to the Olympic Village and experience everything the Olympics offers."

In addition to the support by her family, the USC student will be working on the little things to boost her medal chances over the next six weeks until August 9th. "My coaches and I are working on my turns, drafting and feeding. I practice with gel packs in my swimsuit. I know I have to get better. But I keep learning more with each race."

What an understatement.

With her next test will be on August 9th, she has very little time to study.

Like her teammate, Ous Mellouli, her trajectory to the world-class level has been steep. "Every year as I grow older, I am able to improve more and more. As I gain more experience, the possibility of competing at the Olympics became more real." And her coaches know she is plenty of upside in all aspects of the sport.

While Haley’s past was dominated by racing up and down pools, her sights now clearly include the open water. Open water races, however, presents time – lots of time – to think and react which plays to her strengths. "During the open water, I have time to doubt myself with lots of negative thoughts. During the first 5K, I was thinking, ‘Oh my goodness, I need to work my way up the pack.’ But as I started to work my way up the pack, I get more and more positive. It is like a natural progression."

Upwards and onwards.

"Haley had such composure at the Olympic Qualifier [in Setubal, Portugal]. She was tactical, patient, relaxed, and focused," said her college coach Catherine Vogt. "She showed speed when it was needed. I told her to stay in the front pack, take good feeds, and adjust if anything didn't go according to plan." And they both trusted on her closing speed on last lap.

She will draw upon that speed in London towards the end of the 2-hour marathon swim – similar to her sister Alyssa in the pool whose 200m freestyle leg will take less than 2 minutes. "Haley has been preparing all year," recalled Vogt. "Even with NCAA championships, she has continued to stay focused on her dream. One step at a time, preparing with cold water swims, good pool training and racing."

Haley possesses two characteristics that will prove valuable as she circles the Serpentine six times in the Olympic 10K: size and speed. Haley’s lengthy frame and fast turnover will be assets she will call upon as she comes barreling down towards the finish, most probably with 5-8 other leading contenders. She will need to draw on both in order to climb on the podium.

Where the Anderson family hopes to see both sisters stand tall and smile with joy.

Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source

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