Ally McHugh Finding Right Mentality as She Builds Confidence

Ally McHugh smiles after her 400 Free victory. Photo Courtesy: Connor Trimble

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Ally McHugh earned her second individual gold medal at the 2019 Phillips 66 U.S. National Championships tonight in the women’s 400 free, but she isn’t done yet. McHugh is feeling confident and is looking forward to her 1500 free tomorrow.

Check out the full results here.

Last summer at the 2018 National Championships McHugh qualified for the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju last week where she finished sixth place in the women’s 400 IM. With a quick turn around from worlds to this week’s National Championships she earned gold in the women’s 800 free on Day 1 and carried that momentum into her swim tonight. 

“My freestyle has been feeling really good this week. I was really excited for this race. I knew the girls in that heat were going to go out really fast and I had to stick with them. The beginning of that race is a little bit of a weakness for me. I’m still learning that, but I knew they would be out fast so if I could stick with them, then I thought I would have a good shot,” Ally McHugh said. “Those girls are awesome and I’ve swam against and trained with probably half that heat. It’s really fun to train with those girls.”

After a great collegiate season where McHugh earned her first NCAA title in the 1500 Free, she announced her move to Wisconsin to train for the 2020 Olympic Trials.

McHugh has quickly adapted to the new training atmosphere after moving to Wisconsin.

“It’s all about mentality for me. Being myself again and feeling like myself in the water and just being around a great group of people that motivate me and support me and I know that they have my back. That, for me, is the biggest thing that helps my confidence, just being surrounded by the right people and just having fun,” Ally McHugh said. “When I’m having fun – I’m swimming well. Having this mentality that I deserve to be in that heat and I can race those girls and finding that again and the determination to get to the wall first.”

McHugh loves both freestyle and IM and trains equal amounts of both. McHugh believes that all her freestyle and endurance training is what contributes to her freestyle leg and success in the 400 IM.

“I am just focused on this next year of training. I would love to make an A final.”

McHugh feels confident, focused and excited for this next year knowing that these times are moving her forward.

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