Woolard ready for high school competition

Published 5:55 pm Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Washington native Aubrey Woolard’s life has revolved around the swimming pool for half her life. The newly-minted 14-year old celebrated her birthday Monday and plans on doing more than treading water for the next few years. The rising freshman will join the Washington High School swim team this winter and hopes to keep going after graduation.

  1. How did your competitive swimming career start?

Aubrey: I met my best friend, Lydia Smith, in first grade and she swam with the East Carolina Aquatics Gators, so I decided to try it. I met Ellie Pake in second grade and her dad, Scott, is the Gators coach. He thought I had potential to be good and encouraged me to keep going, so here I am.

  1. There are plenty of other sports and activities for kids your age to participate in. Why have you stuck with swimming?

Aubrey: I grew up here in Washington, so I’ve always loved the water. I like going out on boats, going tubing, water skiing, paddle boarding and whatever other water activity you can name, so swimming is just an extension of that. I had some success in meets when I was nine and decided to work hard to improve. It’s a very challenging sport and I’ve grown to love it.

  1. What is your summer swim schedule?

Aubrey: Up until this week, I was up at six a.m. to be at the pool (Moore Aquatic Center in Washington) by seven. We work out for an hour and half every day. We start an hour later now, so that’s helped with my sleeping schedule.

  1. The Individual Medley is a combination of all four strokes, back, breast, butterfly and freestyle. Not all swimmers choose to compete in that event. Why did you?

Aubrey: When I was younger, I thought it was boring to swim 100 or 200 yards doing the same stroke, so I decided to try the IM. It’s really hard, but also challenging because you have to learn and perfect all the strokes. It’s still more interesting to me to do all the strokes in the same race.

  1. Which stroke is your favorite?

Aubrey: The butterfly, because you actually lift out of the water when you are doing it. It’s a really cool stroke to watch and it’s the hardest to master. It takes a lot of effort, endurance, coordination and upper body strength to do it right. Doing that stroke has really helped me in all those areas.

  1. Are you excited about competing for the high school team this winter?

Aubrey: Yes. A lot of my teammates on the Gators and Whitecaps swim for them, so it should be a comfortable transition. I’m excited to see harder competition and have the chance to qualify for the state meet. It will be a challenge, but I’m looking forward to it.

  1. Have you thought far enough ahead to know what your plan is after high school?

Aubrey: I would like for it to involve swimming on the college level. I know I have four years to keep improving and am willing to do the work to make it happen. My favorite subjects are Science and English and I would like to attend North Carolina State to study pediatric nursing and because they have a good swim team. Coach Scott (Pake) and Coach Neil (Craven) have pushed me farther than I thought I could go and my parents have encouraged me to do my best, so we’ll see.