By Kristian Bush | Photo by Morgan Taplin
Wake up, swim, go to school, swim and repeat that is the typical routine for Leia Bates. She gets up every morning at 5:30 a.m. to practice then after school swims again. She says she is in the water for at at least four hours a day and averages 5000-6000 yards in each day. She competes in the 200 yard and 500 yard freestyle events at school and participates in distance freestyle at her club out side of school.
“It[swimming] lets me set goals to strive for so I can get faster,” said Bates.
Bates was inspired in the fifth grade to start up swimming from her long line of family swimmers. Her dad,uncle and aunts all swam and wanted to follow in their footsteps so she began swimming at Alamo Area Aquatics. She started swimming at the school as a freshmen and her sophomore year went on to the state competition and placed second team all-state.Only 16 students go each year and she will be competing again this year.
“She is a one percenter–only one percent of high school students go to state,” said swim coach Bob Duin.
The state competition will take place in Austin, Tx at the University of Texas at Austin’s Jamal natatorium this weekend. Bates will be swimming in the 200 yard freestyle in the third event and although she is the only swimmer from Madison her teammates will be traveling with her for support.
“She works very hard and I am very proud that she will be representing Madison at the state meet this weekend,” said Duin.