Young MAC swimmer sets sights highAlthough Tevyn Waddell is 14 years old, she has Olympic-size aspirations. Waddell, who has been swimming for nine years, has her sights set on the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials.
By: Brooke Cersosimo, The Daily Republic
Although Tevyn Waddell is 14 years old, she has Olympic-size aspirations.
Waddell, who has been swimming for nine years, has her sights set on the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials.
“I would really like to make the 2016 trials and the Olympics if I could,” she said. “Those are my biggest goals.”
The Mitchell Aquatic Club’s head coach Kyle Margheim said Waddell has the potential to be there in three years.
“With how things have been going so far and if she keeps working really hard, I think that’s a really realistic goal for her at this point,” he said. “We haven’t sat down and talked about long-term goals yet, but I think that would be my personal goal for her too.”
Former MAC swimmer Katie Budahl participated in the U.S. Olympic Trials last summer before the Olympic Games in London.
The freshman’s best events are the 200-meter freestyle, 100-meter backstroke and the 200-meter backstroke.
Waddell said her pace was 10 to 15 seconds off the Olympic-trial pace last year, but this season she has cut the gap to around seven seconds.
“I really feel like I’ve improved a lot within the past few years,” she said.
Waddell holds six state records in the 13-14 girls’ division. She holds records in the 200-meter freestyle, 100-meter backstroke and 200-meter backstroke in both short course and long course races.
Last year, she claimed state titles in the 200-meter freestyle with a time of one minute and 55.96 seconds and the 1,000-meter freestyle in 10 minutes and 57.26 seconds — both meet records.
Not only has Waddell had major success at the state level, she was the youngest finalist in the 200-meter freestyle at a sectional meet in March.
“The meets are my favorite,” said Waddell, whose favorite events are the backstroke and individual medley (IM). “I just like being able to compete with different people from around the country. I always make a ton of new friends from around the country that I still keep in touch with.”
Margheim said her accomplishments don’t just come by talent.
“She’s a very hard worker and is always doing that next thing to try to get better and working at the next step,” he said. “In that sense, she’s really smart at this young age. She’s not letting anything limit what she wants to do.”
Waddell’s journey began when she was five years old.
“I did swimming lessons when I was young, and I passed all of the levels I could at that age,” she said. “One of my friends introduced me to swim team, and I’ve loved it ever since.”
Waddell said she looked up to the older kids on the team and one in particular, Andee Budahl, who currently swims for South Dakota State University.
“She’s been with me since I was really little and I have always looked up to her,” she said.
Margheim said having MAC swimmers go on to compete collegiately is a good motivator for the kids in Mitchell’s club sport.
“I think it helps everybody to see those kids graduate and go onto the college level,” he said. “With the success we’ve had in sending kids to SDSU, Northern Iowa and schools in other states, I think it really helps open their eyes to those possibilities and encourages them to be better.”
Margheim added that despite Waddell’s age, she is taking a leadership role within the program like many before her.
“I think she leads the team in the sense that we have a really young girls group, and with her being a freshman doing that is remarkable,” he said.