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Tribe's Hailey Hewitt Qualifies for U.S. Swimming Olympic Trials
Updated: Friday 03/12/2012 (ET)
by Jacob Skipper
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William and Mary senior Hailey Hewitt (Fairfax, Va.) became the first Tribe swimmer to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Trials over the weekend, timing 2:17.97 in the 200-meter backstroke at the Columbus Grand Prix.  She placed seventh in the top heat of the finals to earn her qualifying mark, swimming against numerous All-American and national champions.

The 200m back was Hewitt's third event in three days, following the 100m fly (1:03.43 for 28th) and the 100m back (1:04.66 for 21st), and she qualified into the finals after swimming 2:18.49 in the prelims.  In the finals, she placed seventh overall, and her time of 2:17.97 came in under the Trials-qualifying cut of 2:17.99.  At this summer's Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska on June 25-July 2, Hewitt can qualify for the London Olympics as long as she places first or second and under the Olympic standard of 2:10.84.

Hewitt's qualifying swim comes hard on the heels of an outstanding CAA Championships, where she won the 200-yard backstroke, was second in the 100-yard backstroke, and fifth in the 100-yard butterfly.  She swam a lifetime-best in all six of her races (prelims and finals) at the conference meet, and broke three school records including the 200 back twice.  In the final race of the week, she came off the final wall in third place and chased down both women ahead of her to win her second CAA title in 1:58.22.  Hewitt's four-year career also saw 63 dual-meet victories, tied for the fourth-most in school history.

If she steps onto the blocks in June, Hewitt would become just the second Tribe swimmer ever to compete at the Olympic Trials.  In 2008, former great Katie Radloff '10 swam the 50m and 100m freestyles, placing 44th and 51st, respectively.

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