Nebraska High School State Finalist Hannah Hailu Commits to Columbia University

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Hannah Hailu, who is going into her senior year at Milard North High School in Omaha, Nebraska, has announced she will be joining the Columbia University Swimming and Diving team in the fall of 2021. Outside of high school, she swims for Greater Omaha Aquatics.

I’m absolutely thrilled to announce my verbal commitment to continue my academic and athletic career at Columbia University! I am forever grateful to my family, coaches, friends, and teammates for their constant love and support. I chose Columbia for its outstanding academic and athletic programs! I really enjoyed the conversations I had with both the coaches and swimmers and I can’t wait to be a lion!

At the 2020 NSAA (Nebraska High School) State Swimming and Diving Championships in February, she was a bronze medalist in both the 100 fly (57.34) and 100 back (57.19). She was also a finalist in the 200 back at the 2019 Winter Junior Nationals.

Top SCY Times

  • 100 fly – 56.46
  • 200 fly – 2:06.22
  • 100 back – 56.25
  • 200 back – 2:00.08
  • 200 IM – 2:07.86

While versatile in multiple events, Hailu’s biggest impact for the team will be in the backstroke races. Last season, with her best times, she would have ranked 2nd on the team in both the 100 and 200 back. At the 2020 Ivy League Swimming and Diving Championships she would have placed in the C-final of the 100 and the B-final of the 200.

While Columbia’s top sprint backstroker, Julia Samson (54.96/2:01.29), graduated after last season, Hailu will still have one year of overlap with Mary Pruden, who won the B-final in the 200 back and led the team in the event.

She will also be joined in the class of 2025 by backstroker Riley Pujadas, who has been a 55.98/2:00.56 in the backstroke events.

She will be joined by Julia Unas, Anthea Wang, and Pujadas as Columbia continues to grow their class of 2025.

Last season the Columbia women finished in 6th at the Ivy League Championships.

*Note: A verbal commitment between an Ivy League coach and a prospective student-athlete is not an offer of admission, as only the Admission Office has that authority. The coach can only commit his or her support in the admission process. Ivy League Admission Offices do not issue “Likely Letters” before October 1 of the prospective student-athlete’s senior year of high school. The Likely Letter, while issued after an initial read of the student’s application, is not an offer of admission to the university.

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3 years ago

It’s a cold area, but education is not expensive

Coach Tom
3 years ago

Way to go Hannah, Columbia is getting both a great student and athlete!

3 years ago


Carol Glover
3 years ago

Woohoo! Way to go Hannah! Congratulations!