WORTHINGTON -- Today, she’s in swimming gear, taking laps in the Worthington Area YMCA pool and helping younger Stingrays complete their practice assignments. After she graduates from Worthington High School, however, senior Hailey Cauwels will complete even more serious assignments as a U.S. Marine.
Her interest in the Marines, and the military in general, has developed over several years.
“I started seriously thinking about it about four years ago when my brother became a Marine. But I was considering military ever since middle school,” Cauwels explained recently.
In the spring, she is an important member of the WHS girls fast-pitch softball team. In the wintertime, she’s an important member of the Worthington Stingrays swim squad -- and a versatile one.
“I’ve gone to state in, technically, all of the events,” she told an interviewer. “I’ve gone to state in the individual medley, I’ve gone to state in the 100 backstroke, the 100 freestyle and the 100 breast. And I am currently going to regions for the second year in my 50 freestyle.
“My favorite event is the 100 freestyle. It’s my favorite because I feel fast when I swim it, and it’s not that hard.”
Cauwels, who wore a warm-up suit with a Marines logo on it when The Globe arrived to interview her for a Drill episode, already behaves like a Marine. Straight answers. A confident demeanor. Respectful. She didn’t call the Globe reporter “sir” when he asked her to share her story, but it might not have seemed odd if she did.
Her role on the Trojans’ girls softball team has helped the program improve notably since she arrived as a varsity player, and her role as a Stingray affects others positively, as well. Stingray swimmers range from ages 8 to 18, and Cauwels says she enjoys many aspects of the team -- including working with the young ones.
You can go online at www.dglobe.com to see a video of Hailey Cauwels. Here’s a sampling of the interview:
QUESTION: What do you like best about swimming?
ANSWER: “My favorite part of swimming would be, I see my friends three nights out of the week and we spend an entire day on the weekend together. I also really enjoy the competition, especially from my older friends like Grace Field. She pushes me to do my best in every single event that we do.”
QUESTION: What is the most valuable advice you’ve received in your athletic career?
ANSWER: “My best advice as an athlete is, you always gotta try to do your best. Even if you don’t feel good, you gotta push through that and get the job done.”
QUESTION: Have you got a special story to tell about something that happened to you in your sports experience? Something that you’ll always remember:
ANSWER: “A special thing that happened to me, I was about 6 years old. I was just learning how to swim. I was swimming with a summer league and I was also swimming with the Worthington swim team in the fall and winter. And I couldn’t even swim down the pool, because I would get scared. So I would grab the edge. And my mom told me that if I swam all the way down without stopping that we could camp in the backyard for a week. And then I did it. She was forced to camp with me in the backyard.”