Athlete Worth Watching: Hailey Ritter of Queen Anne’s County High School
Oct 16, 2017 02:00PM ● Published by Caley Breese
When an athlete becomes passionate about a sport, you wouldn’t think they came by it accidentally. However, for Hailey Ritter, a junior at Queen Anne’s County High School in Centreville, her love for swimming stemmed from an accidental sign up—but it was worth it.
“I’ve been swimming since I was eight. I joined accidentally. My dad thought he was signing me up for swim lessons, but it was the swim team,” Ritter laughs. “I could swim, but we just moved here and there’s water all around us, and he’s like, ‘I just want to make sure you know how to swim.’ But it was a swim team, and I liked it.”
Ritter swims for her high school, as well as two clubs—TCY, which is a year-round swim club located in Easton, and Sho’men Swim Club, a summer program that practices at Washington College in Chestertown.
It seems that swimming is a good fit for Ritter judging by her success. She is a two-time MPSSAA 321A State Champion in the women’s 50-yard freestyle; she won the 100-yard butterfly her sophomore year at the MPSSAA 321A State Swim Championships; she was a part of the winning teams for both women’s 200-yard medley relay and 200-yard freestyle relay at the MPSSAA 321A East Region Swim Championships; and she holds the MPSSAA 321A East Region records for the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly. Ritter also holds the team record at Queen Anne’s County in those aforementioned events as well.
“It feels good. [I feel accomplished.] It makes me feel like all of my hard work has been here,’ Ritter smiles. “Because of TCY, I swam with a lot of the older girls and they’ve always told me, ‘High school swimming’s so fun! You’ll do great!’ And just to know that they believed in me then and then following up with it—it just feels really good. It felt good winning the 100 fly [butterfly] this year because I didn’t win last year. It definitely felt like a comeback. I felt like there was a lot of pressure though. But winning feels like all the pressure was there for a reason—and it was good pressure!”
In addition to all of the hard work she puts into swimming, Ritter also excels in school, taking various Advanced Placement classes as well as being a member of the National Honor Society.
“I like putting school first—that’s always going to be first. And then my social life I think comes with swimming. Most of my really good friends swim with me. Everybody I’m really close with, I swim with.”
She elaborates further. “I don’t struggle that much with school. I like to think I don’t struggle that much,” Ritter laughs. “So balancing it is not hard work. I’ll come home after school and finish all my homework before I have to go to practice. And I’ll study in the car because it’s like 45 minutes away from here. So I have enough time in the car to study and everything. I think I balance it pretty well.”
Although her high school swimming career is far from over, Ritter is hopeful for a future that includes swimming in college.
“I feel like if I don’t swim, then all of my hard work is not going towards anything,” Ritter says. “I feel like in college—not just swimming—but college in general, you’re so proud of your team and your college. And I just want to be proud of another team and just be a part of another team.”