Meet first-time Olympian Hali Flickinger. A recent graduate of the University of Georgia, Flickinger had a breakthrough 2015 season with the Bulldogs, taking the reins from Melanie Margalis as the team’s next dependable, versatile star. After leading the ‘Dawgs to another NCAA team title in March, Flickinger came back to make her first Olympic team with a second place finish in the 200 butterfly.
Hali talks about how she stays calm and collected before races, her reactions to making the team, and her candy-driven motivations as a youngster.
More information on Flickinger, courtesy of her official SwimSwam bio:
Hali Flickinger is an IM and butterfly specialist at the University of Georgia. Born July 7, 1994 to Doug and Lea Flickinger, Hali is studying sport management. The versatile swimmer has an impressive resume, being named to the USA Swimming Junior National Team, USA Swimming Open Water National Junior Team, FINA World Cup Team member, and NCAA All-American. Flickinger is an animal lover, and she often tweets pictures of them – especially cats.
Although Flickinger competed collegiately at Georgia, she had originally chosen Texas. She caused a frenzy when she decided to decommit from Texas, proving the strength of the verbal commitment.
University of Georgia
During her freshman year, Flickinger made a big impact on the Lady Bulldogs. She made the NCAA meet and finished 13th in the 200 butterfly and 14th in the 400 IM, helping her team win their fifth national title.
Flickinger stepped from consolation heats to the final during the 2014 NCAA Championships. She touched sixth in the 200 butterfly, making her an NCAA All-American, and 10th in the 400 IM. She made the final in every event at the SEC Championships, helping the Bulldogs win their fifth straight SEC title.
In the 2015 season, Flickinger’s junior year, she battled at the NCAA Championships — Flickinger finished 6th in the 500 free, 3rd in the 200 fly and just missed out on the gold medal, finishing 2nd by just tenths of a second in the 400 IM. After being named SEC Swimmer of the Week on numerous occasions, Flickinger was awarded the Commissioner’s Trophy for high-point honors at the SECs.
Recently Flickinger had an impressive US Nationals. In 2014 she finished 9th in the 400-meter IM, 9th in the 400-meter backstroke and 3rd in the 200-meter butterfly, putting her on the 2014-2015 USA Swimming National Team. In 2012 Flickinger qualified for the US Olympic Trials where she finished 25th in the 200m butterfly, 29th in the 200m backstroke and 30th in the 200m IM.
At the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships in Australia she finished 10th in the 100m butterfly, and even competed at the 2011 FINA World Junior Championship in Peru and the 2011 FINA World Cup in Russia and Germany. She won two silver medals in Russia.
2015-2016 U.S. National Team
Flickinger is a member of the 2015-2016 U.S. National Team in the 200 and 400-meter free, 200-meter fly and the 400-meter IM.
At the 2015 U.S. Nationals Flickinger won the 200-meter fly, dominating the last 50 meters of the race to win even after choking on water on the final turn of the race. She also had a great time in the 200-meter IM, qualifying 4th in prelims, but chose to scratch the final to focus on the 400-meter free, where she finished 2nd by just .05 seconds.
2016 US Olympic Trials
Flickinger finished second in the 200M Fly to Camille Adams, earning her a spot on the US Olympic Team.