Flying to the Olympic trials: Former CCHS stand-out Haley Richter off to Olympic trials

COLUMBIA CITY — Haley Richter can “fly” in the pool. Literally.Richter will be competing in the Olympic trials Monday in Omaha, Nebraska in the 100-meter butterfly.She qualified by meeting the qualifying time (101.99) by just a fraction of a second, 1:01.5.Though Richter said she doesn’t expect to place in the top two to make it to the Olympics, she’s excited about the experience.“It’s going to be so fun. I’m so excited,” Richter said.Richter said she’s seeded around 80th place. Her time, 101.5, would’ve been good for the world record in 1974. The record in ‘74 was 101.88.The current world record is 56.06 seconds, set in July of 2009.A Columbia City High School Alumnus, Richter didn’t start competing in the 100-fly until her senior year of high school. In that season, she placed fifth in the state finals and has been a “flyer” ever since.“I wasn’t expected to do anything in the butterfly (in high school),” Richter said. Richter went to the state finals all four years of high school in the 100 backstroke and the 100 freestyle.“I decided to try the butterfly and I did well in it,” Richter said. “My freshman year at Ball State they started working with me on it and I’ve done well.”An incoming junior this year, she was named the Mid-American Conference swimmer of the week. Richter received a full-ride scholarship to Ball State and was one of five swimmers who helped in the selection process of the Cardinals’ new coach, Kristy Castillo from Akron. Richter is majoring in Education. She said her goal is to be a teacher and a swimming coach on the side.She’s already sharpening her coaching skills, as she’s been giving swim lessons for the last three years to swimmers of all ages.“It’s fun to give back and help other people,” Richter said.Richter has also lifeguarded for the Fort Wayne Country Club.Since she returned home from Ball State last week, Richter said she’s been practicing at South Side High School and Huntington County’s YMCA.“Huntington is closer to where I live and their pool is bigger than Whitley County’s YMCA,” Richter said.She started swimming at a young age. Richter said at three years old, she was diving off the edge of the pool with her mom, Janet Richter, who swam for Indiana University.“My mom has been swimming since she was seven,” Richter said. “She was a big inspiration to me. She got me into swimming and she had me in the water at a young age.”Her dad James, on the other hand, does not have the same elegance in the water.“My dad cannot swim like us,” Richter said. “It’s funny to watch him try to swim the butterfly.”Richter said the whole family is making the 10-hour drive to Omaha, leaving tomorrow.Her sister, Andrea Richter, swam at Columbia City her freshman year and went to the state finals. Last season she did not compete for the Lady Eagles, but participated in club swimming. Andrea will be a junior this year.Richter will be competing aginst Dana Vollmer, who enters the meet as the reigning world champion with three times under 57 seconds, including the U.S. record (56.47) in 2011.The 2008 Olympic Champion, Lisbeth Trickett of Australia swam a time of 56.73.