Written by Audrey Oleana
Megaphone Staff Writer
Bailey Thompson, a tall, athletic Mabee native, has taken the collegiate competitive swimming world by storm.
Thompson is a first-year at Southwestern, but began swimming competitively at the young age of twelve years old.
Thompson recalled that one of her friends wanted to start swimming, so they both signed up for lessons at the local YMCA.
Thompson’s friend quit swimming that year, but Thompson stuck with the sport and is still enjoying it to this day (with a lot of experience and honors to show for it!).
When asked about her favorite part of swimming, Thompson said, “I can eat as much as I want, and it doesn’t matter!”
She loves that swimming can keep her in shape and, after a few years, she has had a lot of practice getting fit by swimming.
As with any sport, swimming comes with sacrifices. Thompson injured her shoulder on the day after the SU team came back to begin rigorous winter training for the upcoming season.
According to Thompson, the injury “has had a pretty big effect on my swimming. I was out of the water for a month right before conference.”
Regardless of the sport, time off can have noticeable, negative effects on a person’s performance.
“I’ve had to work twice as hard now just to keep up with where I was [before I injured my shoulder].”
But luckily for Thompson, the swim team offers something more than just teammates with which she can discuss sports-related events and share team experiences.
Thompson and her teammates eat dinner together every night and hang out with each other outside of practice time.
“I love the atmosphere [being on swim team] gives. As corny as it sounds, we really are a family,”
Thompson has found a real support group at Southwestern, and even before Thompson injured her shoulder, she realized that “everyone is always there for me if I’m having problems, in or out of the water.”
Since beginning her swimming days at Southwestern University, Thompson has broken three individual school records, and she hopes that by the end of the season, she will have performed well enough to compete at the national level, an event which will take place around Spring Break of this year.
This would also mean that Thompson would be the first woman to go to nationals (an exciting feat, especially for a first-year).
But excellence is certainly no stranger to Thompson, a communications major and political science minor considering a post-undergraduate plan of going to law school.
Thompson holds six varsity swimming records at Garland High School, where she was also a three-time regional and eight-time district champion.
At the two-day Tiger Invitational competition in San Antonio, which concluded on Jan. 26, Thompson took second place in both the 100 and 200 backstroke, barely missing first place in the 100 race by only .27 seconds.
At the University of Houston dual meet, she completed an impressive one minute, 3.52 second 100 yard backstroke, a two minute, 20.61 second 200 yard race, and helped complete a one minute, 54.52 second relay with three of her teammates.
The team has an upcoming conference from Feb. 14-16 in Dallas, just minutes from Thompson’s home town of Garland.
Although Thompson excels at swimming, she does not plan to swim competitively after completing her undergraduate degree.
When she’s not making waves with the SU swim team, Thompson enjoys shopping, fashion, “America’s Next Top Model” and hanging out with her friends. Some of her favorite movies include “Mean Girls,” “Thirteen” and “Memoirs of a Geisha”.