Ellie Waldrep the newest Baylor Faculty swimming alum to compete at Olympic Trials

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The commonest route from Baylor Faculty to Auburn College includes Interstate 75 and Interstate 85.

Ellie Waldrep is making her transition to varsity by the use of Nebraska.

Waldrep is leaving Friday together with Baylor swim coach Dan Flack for the Olympic Trials in Omaha. The Auburn signee is scheduled to compete in subsequent Monday’s 100-meter backstroke preliminary heats, in addition to subsequent Friday’s heats within the 200-meter backstroke, however she has already left an impression on Baylor’s proud program that Flack will not neglect any time quickly.

“Ellie has done it the right way,” Flack mentioned this week. “She got here by way of the system and by no means pushed an excessive amount of at sure instances. I joke that I might have made her rather a lot quicker as a bit child, however would that assist her now? She’s the quickest backstroker within the nation this yr for a high-school child. She has actually matured and will probably be an ideal chief in these subsequent couple of years relative to varsity swimming, as a result of she will get it.

“She’s been to enough big meets, and her legacy here is second to none.”

Waldrep’s legacy contains program information in three — backstroke, butterfly and the person medley — of swimming’s 5 major occasions. Solely freestyle and breaststroke requirements have been elusive throughout her seven years at Baylor, and she or he is fast to chuckle about by no means being within the hunt for the breaststroke prize, calling it “my reaching for Jesus race.”

Qualifying for the Olympic Trials in swimming not solely takes expertise however numerous hours of dedication, which Waldrep has constantly produced.

“During the school year, I swim from 6 to 7:30 every morning,” Waldrep mentioned. “Then I go to school from like 8:40 to 3:30, and I usually find an hour when I can lift during the school day. Then I come back and swim from 3:45 to 6:15. The rough numbers are like five hours a day.”

Earlier than turning 16 and incomes her license, Waldrep relied on dad and mom Larry and Melissa for transportation, with Melissa dealing with most of these rise-and-shine rides.

“She was a trooper,” Waldrep mentioned with a smile.



Although Melissa was a swimmer, she by no means compelled the game on her daughter.

“I was set on being a softball player,” Waldrep mentioned. “I refused to swim for the longest time, but I started swimming for Ooltewah (in the Chattanooga Area Swim League) when I was 8 and loved it. I mean, I really got into it as soon as I started. Regardless of whether I was good, I was just interested in it.”

Waldrep obtained good in a rush, qualifying for Junior Nationwide meets as an eighth-grader. She made the CASL transition from Ooltewah to Stuart Heights as a 12-year-old, however her roots all year long had been planted at Baylor.

Backstroke got here naturally to her the quickest, which was adopted by a mastering of butterfly and the IM.

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Baylor Faculty picture / Current Baylor Faculty graduate and Auburn College signee Ellie Waldrep will compete within the 100- and 200-meter backstroke occasions through the Olympic Trials subsequent week in Omaha, Nebraska.

“The great thing about being here is that you can take it as far as you want to go,” Flack mentioned. “I tell the kids that all the time, and they eventually buy into the dream or they don’t. If you do buy into the dream here, it’s real.”

Waldrep witnessed that whereas training with the Baylor Swim Membership earlier than her days as a Baylor sixth-grader. She grew up admiring Kristen Vredeveld, who earned a scholarship to the College of California and competed on the 2012 Olympic Trials within the 50-, 100- and 200-meter freestyle occasions.

“She was like a big sister to me,” Waldrep mentioned. “Baylor does such an ideal job of connecting the ages. We swim within the afternoons proper after college, and by the point we’re out, the little youngsters are coming in. From a younger age, you get to see the older youngsters, and it is loopy to suppose that I am in that place now.

“For better or for worse, I’m just super excited to represent Baylor on such a large stage.”

Amazingly, there was at the very least one Baylor Faculty swimming alum to compete in each Olympic Trials since 2000, with Waldrep becoming a member of Vredeveld and the likes of Ryan Bishop, Stephanie Napier and Sam McHugh. Trey Freeman, a Baylor graduate who’s now a fifth-year senior on the College of Florida, certified within the 100, 200 and 400 free occasions this time round after qualifying for 3 free races through the 2016 Trials as nicely.



Waldrep’s likelihood is stronger within the 100 again in comparison with the 200, however she is a longshot at greatest relating to incomes one of many two coveted positions to the Tokyo Video games later this summer season.

Final month on the Mizuno Atlanta Traditional Swim Meet at Georgia Tech, Waldrep was clocked at 1:01.04 within the 100. The world document within the occasion is 57.57 seconds, and there will probably be plenty of people in Omaha who contact in lower than a minute.

“The women’s 100 backstroke for the United States is the most loaded event I’ve seen, and I’ve been doing this a long time,” Flack mentioned. “The final time I appeared, she was like 36th on the earth, and it is all USA in entrance of her. What we’re on the lookout for is progress, so I am not placing any stress on her so far as ending on this place or that place.

“I just want her to get better, because better is good.”

Waldrep’s best power within the 100 again is off the beginning and the flip, the place she spends 15 meters of every 50-meter lap beneath water.

“I believe I have a second in me that I can take off, but that’s a good amount,” she mentioned. “The older you get, the more consistent your times get, so sometimes dropping 0.1 seconds is huge.”

As soon as the Olympic Trials are over, Waldrep has a busy summer season that features Auburn orientation, a trip to Arkansas and dealing with the 8-unders at Stuart Heights in an effort to provide again the enjoyment she skilled. Waldrep’s youthful brother, Luke, is an rising standout as a rising Baylor ninth-grader, however there will probably be quiet instances she seeks out earlier than her school profession begins in roughly two months.

“I think COVID has taught everybody to appreciate the down time,” she mentioned. “Before, it was like you had to go all the time, and typically I would swim until August and then turn around and start school.”

It is that form of reasoning that helps why Flack has no worries about Waldrep as soon as that flight again from Nebraska lands.

“This is not the end point,” Flack mentioned. “It is part of her journey, and I all the time attempt to inform the children that one of the best factor you are able to do for your self is to reach in your school campus in one of the best form of your life. That approach, you possibly can influence your new staff from day one. A whole lot of youngsters whiff on that. A whole lot of youngsters arrive, and they’re behind.

“Everything is going to be new — new classes, new roommates, new dorms, new directions to class. Everything else is already new, so if you know that you’re rock solid in swimming, you can set a tone for your team. Like I said before — Ellie will be a great leader. She gets it.”

Contact David Paschall at [email protected] or 423-757-6524.

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