Sophomore Margaret Hayes wants a second shot at the 200 IM to add to her state title resume
BAINBRIDGE ISLAND — Last season Bainbridge’s Margaret Hayes learned a hard lesson at an unfortunate time.
Hayes was swimming in her first high school state championship when she was called for a disqualification in the 200-yard individual medley for a non-simultaneous touch in the breaststroke leg. The hardest part was she had won the event by a wide margin.
Nearly a year later, Hayes is swimming better than ever.
Is she swimming the 200 IM at state?
“I’m planning on it,” she said.
After some frustration and tears upon learning about the DQ, Hayes warmed down and waited for her second shot at a state title. She came through in a big way. Hayes won the 100 butterfly in 56.87 seconds.
She earned her championship and it was just the beginning. Hayes also helped the Spartans 200 free relay to a win in All-American Consideration time and a fourth place finish in the 400 free relay.
“Winning last year and coming into this season … nothing’s guaranteed so I’m just really focused to try and do that again but I know it’s a lot of hard work and I have some really fast competitors.”
Bainbridge coach Sarah Bullock said the DQ was tough for Hayes but she didn’t dwell on the misfortune for very long.
“She acts like a champion, she trains like a champion,” she said. “When she trains, she’s all in. These elite athletes what they’re able to do is be in the moment.”
“She’s an amazing kid, she’s an amazing athlete,” Bullock said. “She’s focused and positive and smiley and funny. Great teammate. Well-liked by everybody.”
Hayes said last season’s experience, both good and bad, prepared her for the transitional grind of club to high school even though the high school season is short.
“I’ve just been really focused in training for my goals but also I think the mental side of racing has definitely improved,” she said, “I’m a lot more confident in myself.”
Hayes, who broke the school record for the 200 freestyle at the Metro League meet, came into the season making the same times she was hitting at the end of last season. Hayes swims for the Bainbridge Island Swim Club and head coach Carolyn Ackerley. She is ranked among the top 10 in nearly event in the Pacific Northwest, including a No. 1 ranking in the 400-yard IM and a No. 2 ranking in the 100-yard butterfly.
The 400 IM, remarkably enough, is Hayes’ favorite event.
“During the club season I like the 400 IM,” she said. “I don’t always like swimming it but it’s a good race for me.”
Her goals are simple this year heading into Federal Way. Swim as fast as she can and work on the things she can control like her turns, underwater and kicks.
“I’m hoping those small details add up,” she said. “I’m not so much worried about the time, I mean I have goals in mind, but it’s not something I like to stress about. I think that was something I used to do a lot in the past and so it kind of overwhelmed me. Now I’m going in with a relaxed and focused mindset.”
The Spartans are hoping to move up on the podium at the 3A state meet, Nov. 15-16, at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way. Bainbridge finished fourth last year and return several key swimmers, an experienced group of underclassmen and divers who can perform at a high level.
Hayes said if anything she’s more excited for this state meet and seeing her club teammates.
“It’s the best feeling in the world to see everyone there to support me,” she said.