Sophomore swimmer Audrey Coffey meets long-term goal, looks toward the future

After sophomore Audrey Coffey watched the 2008 Olympics, she knew she wanted to be a part of it someday.

“I really wanted to make it there, [and] I think that’s what really got me started into swimming,” Coffey said. Ever since then, she’s tried to make that dream come true.

Coffey’s parents put her in her first swimming lessons when she was three.

“My parents put me in lessons because they wanted me to be safe in the water and not worry about drowning,” Coffey said. “It sounds kind of dark, but that’s how a lot of people get into the sport.”

Coffey began competitively swimming when she was seven years old. Right now she swims for the club swimming team Academy Bullets and the girls’ swim team at Central. Coffey also became a National Club Swimming Association (NCSA) Junior Nationals qualifier last year, and attended the spring and summer meets, placing 16th in the 200 fly in the summer meet.

“I’d been trying to qualify for that meet for a while, and it was a really big goal for me,” Coffey said. “I was so surprised when I made it [that] I started crying.”

This Saturday, Coffey placed first in state for the 500 free and third for the 200 free at the Illinois High School Association State tournament. Coffey had placed first and fourth, respectively, the year before.

Being on Central’s swim team is a different experience from her club team.  

“I love the swim team at Central,” Coffey said. “There’s a lot more of a team aspect to it and we do fun stuff together, like pasta parties, cookouts and breakfasts.”

Her club swim team focuses more on members’ singular achievements.

“[Audrey] is a good leader and has done a good job being a role model for other swimmers both in and out of the pool,” senior Caitlyn Guccione said.

Guccione is a member of the Academy Bullets, Coffey’s club team, and Central’s swim team.

Coffey acknowledges the hard work it took to get results.

“Anyone is capable of achieving greatness,” Coffey said. “It all comes down to your work ethic… You have to eat, sleep and breathe your goals. That’s how you become successful.”