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Marion, Iowa native Hayley Kimmel has announced her verbal commitment to the University of Iowa where she will begin in the fall of 2023.
“I am very excited and humbled to announce my verbal commitment to continue my athletic and academic career at the University of Iowa!! I want to thank my family, friends, and all of my coaches for helping me get here!! I can’t wait for the future at Iowa! Go Hawks!💛🖤”
Iowa, with only eight swimmers and four divers on the 2021-22 women’s roster, is in rebuilding mode after having gone through a program cut and subsequent reinstatement over the last year. Kimmel is a good pickup for the Hawkeyes, a home-grown talent with Summer Juniors times in the 100 breast and 200 IM and Winter Juniors cuts in the 100 back, 200 breast, and 400 IM.
A junior at Linn-Mar Community High School, Kimmel placed third in the 100 breast (1:05.65) and seventh in the 200 IM (2:09.74) at the 2020 Iowa Girls High School State Championships last November. The previous year, as a freshman, she was runner-up in both events (1:03.68/2:03:03). In an interview with The Gazette, she explained, “I don’t think people understood how many things I was going through at the time with school, all the pressure of wanting to win my freshman year and then ending up not winning. It took a toll on me,” Kimmel said. “I don’t think people understood that I felt as if I let everyone down, that I was a failure. I also felt that I was constantly drowning in work or swimming. It was mentally and physically hard to keep going.” And so, in December 2019, she took a little break from swimming. She came back to swim in high school states as a sophomore, but said, “I started to notice that I wasn’t enjoying it and I was just doing it for others and not myself. In my opinion, I wasn’t struggling with just one thing in general, it was a build-up of things that brought me to the (decision to step away).” And she took a second break. This time, she said that staying out of the water “lifted all the stress off my shoulders and made me a better swimmer and person for taking that time for myself.”
Kimmel came back in May, swimming with her club team Linn-Mar Swim Team. She competed at Iowa Long Course Championships and was a top-12 finisher in the 50 back and 50/100 breast, 50 fly, and 200 IM. She even picked up new PBs in the LCM 50 back and 50 breast.
Kimmel reflected on her experience, telling The Gazette, “I finally got to understand that I needed to swim for myself and only myself,” she said. “I don’t need to swim to have the crowd cheering or to have a gold medal around my neck. I don’t need to prove anything to anyone but me. I am glad I have finally recognized that.”
Top SCY times (dating from the spring of 2019):
- 100 breast – 1:02.80
- 200 breast – 2:16.74
- 50 back – 26.19
- 100 back – 55.65
- 200 IM – 2:02.81
- 400 IM – 4:19.68
- 100 fly – 55.86
- 100 free – 51.81
I am very excited and humbled to announce my verbal commitment to continue my athletic and academic career at the University of Iowa!! I want to thank my family, friends, and all of my coaches for helping me get here!! I can’t wait for the future at Iowa! Go Hawks!💛🖤 pic.twitter.com/GGk45DIXOQ
— Hayley Kimmel (@hayleykimmel1) October 5, 2021
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