MARION — Hayley Kimmel’s coach calls her “dangerous.”
Bobby Kelley’s description of Linn-Mar’s standout freshman swimmer is all about her abilities in the water. In her brief high school career, Kimmel has established herself as one of Iowa’s best swimmers.
Kimmel has the state’s top time in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:05.09, just ahead of Iowa City High’s Olivia Masterson’s 1:05.73) and is second to Iowa City West’s Scarlet Martin in the 200 individual medley (2:05.77 to Martin’s 2:04.95)
“Hayley has a great feel for the water,” said Kelley, the second-year Lions coach. “With the IM, Hayley really does not have a weak stroke. She also has very good walls and does an amazing job of carrying the push-off speed into fast underwater kicking.
“With the breaststroke, she probably has the best underwater pullouts in the state, Combine this with the speed she has while swimming and that makes her breaststroke pretty special.”
Kimmel didn’t expect to have such fast times so early in her first season.
“Actually, I did not expect to go faster than 2:07 in my 200 IM until conference,” she said. I never thought I would go 2:05 because it is so close to my best time. I’m really happy where I have started out and Bobby is really helping me toward my goal of state and those faster times.”
Swimming is a family affair for the Kimmels. Older sister Alyssa is a junior and also swims for the Lions. Oldest sister Kaylyn graduated from Linn-Mar in 2015. Mom Diana is a longtime swimming instructor.
Hayley enjoys having a sister as a teammate.
“I love being on the team with my sister,” she said. “We don’t normally swim the same races, but it is nice having her there to talk with if I have a bad race or I can help her through things or talk her through it.”
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Kimmel also has embraced her Linn-Mar swim family. Some entering high school after so many years of club swimming struggle with the team aspect. Not so in Kimmel’s case.
“Hayley has done a great job fitting into the team concept of high school swimming,” Kelley said. “She thrives on the challenges of racing that comes with high school swimming and will swim any event that the team needs.”
Linn-Mar’s final dual of the season comes next Tuesday at Iowa City West. Chances are good Kimmel could be in races against Martin and/or Aurora Roghair, another potential state champion.
“Right now, I’m really concentrating on practices because they are getting a lot harder,” Kimmel said. “It will be nice to swim against them, but I am not really worried about winning right now. I just want to have fun and see what my times are.”
Even with her many accomplishments to date, Kelley believes Kimmel isn’t even close to reaching her full potential.
“Hayley will be as good as she chooses to be,” Kelley said. “She already does a great job at practices focusing on the big things. As she matures and grows, she will learn how to focus better on the small things. Once she does this, we will see Hayley take her swimming to a new and faster level.”
Making her even more “dangerous.”