Siobhan Haughey Reflects on Asian Record in Time Trial: ‘I Know I Can Hit That Time Again’

Siobhan Haughey. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Siobhan Haughey touched the wall and looked up at the scoreboard.

It wasn’t disbelief, but Haughey was definitely stunned as she saw the fastest time she has ever swum in the 200-meter freestyle. In fact, it was faster than anyone from Asia had ever gone.

In a time trial last week in Hong Kong, Haughey went a 1:54.44 in the 200-meter freestyle (LCM). The time would have broken her own Hong Kong national record (1:54.98) and the Asian record set by Japan’s Rikako Ikee (1:54.85) in 2018 if it was in a sanctioned meet. It also would have won the silver medal at the 2019 World Championships and earned a medal at the Olympics.

Haughey’s goal is to become the first Hong Kong swimmer to medal in the Olympics.

“I was so surprised with the time and I’m really happy with how I did. I don’t think anyone was expecting me to go out so fast in the first 100, including myself,” Siobhan Haughey told Swimming World. “We’ve been working a lot on the second half of the 200, and I think that was reflected in my race as well.”

The time trial was done last week in place of the Hong Kong Open, which was canceled because most of the pools in Hong Kong are closed because of COVID-19.

Because of the pandemic, Haughey, who trains as a post-grad at the University of Michigan, returned to Hong Kong to train while Michigan pools are closed to post-grad groups.

“I’ve been training in Hong Kong since June,” she said. “I’ve had a pretty good block of training since then so it’s nice having a mini meet where I get to be rested for a few days and swim fast to see where I’m at. My coach in Michigan writes the practices and I do them with a group of people here in Hong Kong. I’m familiar with the sets and the training format, but I get to train with different people, so it’s refreshing.”

Only full-time national athletes get to train at the Hong Kong Sports Institute, where the time trial took place. Fifteen swimmers competed in the trial with four coaches spread out on deck.

“The meet was canceled, but the coaches still wanted us to have the opportunity to swim fast, so we had a time trial,” Haughey said. “I’d say it was more like a race pace practice than a meet.”

Haughey said because of the format, she is not worried about the time not counting officially as the Asian record, or even lowering her own Hong Kong record. She has bigger races in mind.

“I don’t think they’re trying to get my time ratified, and I’m fine with that because I know I can hit that time again,” Siobhan Haughey said. “This swim is definitely a confidence booster, and it gives me an idea of where I’m at right now. That being said, I have to be able to swim like that when it matters the most, which is next summer. There are still things that I can work on and I’m excited for the next 12 months.”

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