Siobhan Haughey Motivated for ISL After Near-Medal Performance at Worlds


Siobhan Haughey, DC Trident. In the lead-up to the first International Swimming League pro-team season, Swimming World will look at some of the pioneers of a new chapter unfolding in the sport. Today: The greatest Hong Kong swimmer in history.

Pioneers Of Pro-Team Swimming

Olivia Smoliga
Katie McLaughlin
Ian Finnerty
Amy Bilquist
Ella Eastin
Ali DeLoof
Hali Flickinger
Breeja Larson


Every year, Siobhan Haughey quietly takes a step further into the world’s elite.

In 2016, it was making the Olympics.

In 2017, it was becoming an NCAA title contender.

In 2018, it was becoming the leader to propel Michigan to its highest finish in decades.

In 2019, it was becoming a world championship medal contender.

The best race of Haughey’s career was also the most disappointing — and motivating.

Haughey finished fourth at worlds in the 200 free (1:54.89), her best time by nearly a second, finishing two tenths behind bronze-medal winner Sarah Sjostrom. An incredible swim, so close to a medal.

“I think it was a pretty good summer overall. Obviously, just missing out on a medal, that was a little disappointing, but I went a really good time,” Haughey told Swimming World. “I have a lot more motivation going into this year. Hopefully, that won’t happen again at the Olympics, missing a medal by 0.2.”

Unlike most of the world’s elite swimmers, Haughey has already qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics based on Hong Kong’s qualification process. She is the top swimmer in Hong Kong history.

That completely changes the feel of the premier International Swimming League season for Haughey, who is a member of the DC Trident and the first Asian swimmer to sign with the league. While many swimmers will use the racing as training during their long run toward trials, Haughey will be focused on the actual races.

“It definitely takes some pressure off,” she said. “These meets are good racing practice for the Olympics. It will be a lot of the same swimmers and I will be able to see what I have to work on.”


Siobhan Haughey; Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

That work ethic is something Haughey always possessed, but it reached a new level when she stepped onto the pool deck at the University of Michigan.

“I think this happened when I went to Michigan. I remember my coaches telling me how good of a swimmer I was but that I was not good at details. I really took that to heart. I wanted to make sure I was doing the right thing. I knew I could improve a lot if I worked on those things,” she said. “It is the work you do every day that leads to that best time at the end of the season. I just really focused on my strokes and tried to put a lot of emphasis on every detail so I know I was not wasting a practice.”

Haughey will take that mentality into the ISL.

“I am just treating it as kind of like a college dual meet. We are starting to build up our training. I haven’t swam short-course meters for more than five years, so everything will be kind of new. Right now, I am using it as more racing experience,” she said. “It is really exciting. I am really excited to meet my teammates and race with them. I am excited to see how this all turns out. It is a huge deal because it really brings more attention to swimming for the swimmers and the general public.”

The swimmers know who Haughey is, but this will be great exposure for her as far as swimming fans.

“Every four years, swimming is a huge sport at the Olympics, but when it isn’t an Olympic year, swimming is kind of neglected by the general public. So this is really good to get that exposure,” Haughey said.

By the time the Tokyo Olympics roll around, Haughey will be well known by all swimming fans — if they don’t her already.

Haughey has continued to prove that she gets faster as the stage gets bigger. With some big races in the ISL, she might have her best races in store for Tokyo.

“I think the faster you are, the harder it is to get a best time,” she said. “The fact that I am able to keep getting best times at big meet shows how well my training is going.”

And shows how her potential continues to skyrocket.


Siobhan Haughey; Photo Courtesy: Dan D’Addona

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