Ana Agy swims into big time success
Don’t even try to keep up with Park City’s Ana Agy. The 18-year-old college freshman at the University of Utah is swimming her way toward a possible NCAA national championship this year and the United States Olympic trials the next.
Success at such an early age didn’t just happen to Agy. For years, the Jeremy Ranch resident would rise at 4 a.m. to drive to Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center in Sandy for early morning practices and attended Brighton High school — far away from the kids she grew up with to swim with one of state’s best programs.
Her hard work paid off in the form of scholarship offers from some of the best Division I swim programs in the country, including Arizona.
Now, Agy is making headlines as a first-year sprinter and has already established herself as one of the best swimmers in the program.
This summer, before even setting foot on the Arizona campus, Agy qualified for the Olympic trials in the 100-meter butterfly at the Speedo Sectional meet in Federal Way, Wash. Working under the direction of long-time coach Todd Etherington at Cottonwood Heights, Agy qualified with a time of one minute and 2.28 seconds about a second under the needed time to make the trials.
When Agy first began swimming, her goal was just to do well and continue advancing to the next level, but in the last few years she has had her eye on the Olympic trials and was thrilled to move forward toward her goal. She will now have about a year to prepare for the trials, which will be held in Omaha, Neb. in June of 2008. She will need to finish as one of the top two finalists to qualify for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. It’s a lot of pressure at such a young age, but Agy is taking it as slowly as she can.
"I’m aiming for my best, but I’ll take it one step at a time," she said. "It’s good to take smaller steps to get to the big one. There’s a lot of meets between now and trials."
In order to earn a trip to the Olympics, Agy figures that she needs to finish under one minute. To reach that goal, she says she plans to keep doing what her coaches tell her. Right now, she says she is losing time on the details that weren’t so critical in high school competition, like starts, turns and finishes.
"Against my competitors, that’s where I’m losing time in the little things," Agy said.
Training also includes two-a-day two-hour practices and running Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, two-hour practices and weightlifting on Tuesdays and Thursdays and two and a half-hour long practices on Saturdays, plus one and a half-hours of more weight lifting.
It’s a rigorous schedule for such a young person, yet Agy somehow managed to fit in enough study time to earn a 4.0 as an honors student in her first college semester and all without much trouble.
"It happened pretty gradually for me," Agy said. "My schedule is only a little more busy [than high school]. I’ve been challenging myself athletically and academically."
Along with the Olympic trials, the No. 2 nationally-ranked Arizona Wildcats are on their way to NCAA Championships, March 8-11, with their eye on beating No.1-ranked swimming powerhouse, Stanford. Agy plans to be a big part of that effort. She is currently ranked seventh in the nation in the 100-yard butterfly, 10th in the 100-yard backstroke and 17th in the 200-yard butterfly. Only the top 16 places at the championships count toward the team point total, so Agy needs to swim her best.
"This is one of the best shots our team has ever had at a national title," Agy said.
Agy works heavily with Wildcat sprint coach, Augie Busch, as well as with head coach Frank Busch.
"It’s been really exciting. I know this is the best program for me,"
She also receives immense support from her parents, Parkites Pete and Gina, and brother, Chad, who is attending the University of Southern California on an academic scholarship. She jokes that for her parents’ support comes from attending meets, but otherwise leaving the rest to her coaches and teachers.
"They’re supportive without being too involved," Agy said.
Over the holidays, Agy spent most of her time with family and reverting back to her old drive to and from her parent’s home to the Cottonwood Heights pool and headed back to Tucson on Tuesday to resume training with her team.
She laments that with much of her life taking place in Salt Lake in the past few years and now in Arizona, that many Park City people may not be familiar with her accomplishments and the exciting challenges ahead of her, but she hopes that she can be an inspiration to some of Park City’s top young swimmers and she hopes to continue to swim well even if her neighbors don’t realize that they were living next to a prospective Olympian for all those years.
"I always try to do my best in every way I can," Agy said. "If I am giving my best, it’s all I can ask for."
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