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Senior Raime Jones to swim on Yale University team

Senior+Raime+Jones%2C+a+future+Yale+student+and+swim+team+member%2C+poses+with+her+medal+for+winning+the+500+meter+freestyle+at+the+5A+state+meet.
Senior Raime Jones, a future Yale student and swim team member, poses with her medal for winning the 500 meter freestyle at the 5A state meet.

Senior Raime Jones, a future Yale student and swim team member, poses with her medal for winning the 500 meter freestyle at the 5A state meet.

Shae Daugherty

Shae Daugherty

Senior Raime Jones, a future Yale student and swim team member, poses with her medal for winning the 500 meter freestyle at the 5A state meet.

Hannah Ortega, Editor-in-Chief

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When the extended arms of the swimmers in the heat ahead of hers pierce the pool, droplets flying from the water’s surface like shards of broken glass, the fun and games are over for senior Raime Jones.

Raime breaks away from her friends, whom she cut up with for about 10 minutes prior, and blocks out everyone else around her. She stares at nothing but the pool–a place where she feels at home.

“There are very few things for me that I can just get lost in, and swimming is one of those things,” Raime said. “It is an escape for me in my day, so I think that has something to do with why I love it.”

Soon, the 5A state champion of the 500 meter freestyle will “get lost” in the 25-yard long Kiphuth Exhibition Pool at Yale University after undergoing recruitment.

Long before Raime was recruited by the Bulldogs, she was a 5-year-old country club swimmer, and at age 8, she began swimming competitively. Raime’s father was a swimmer at Stanford, but she said he never pushed her into the sport. Instead, it was her elementary school best friend who roped Raime into club swimming.

“She had wanted a friend to do it with her, and I was like, ‘Oh, yeah, sure, let’s do it,’ and my dad was like, ‘Are you sure?’” Raime said. “He was always at the meets staying away being like, ‘Wow, great job,’ just letting me do my own thing, which I really appreciate because it let me find my own love for the sport.”

Raime’s competitive spirit continued to grow, and she said she enjoys the challenges swimming presents. However, there was a time when she didn’t find as much joy as she usually did while in the water.

I think that these past two years have kind of reaffirmed to me why I love it so much, and I think that it has a lot to do with seeing the people that you love everyday when you come to the pool.”

— Raime Jones

“I feel like it’s easy in swimming to start going through the motions, as it is in any sport, and I think that when I was little I really loved it, and there was a phase when I kind of forgot why I loved it,” Raime said. “I think that these past two years have kind of reaffirmed to me why I love it so much, and I think that it has a lot to do with seeing the people that you love everyday when you come to the pool.”

Despite her brief slump, Raime never considered quitting because she “couldn’t imagine [her] life without” swimming. Instead, she powered through.

“I made the decision that it would be fun again,” Raime said. “I set goals and thought about them during practice. But mostly I just thought about enjoying myself and not worrying too much about what the results ended up being.”

Now, after moving here from Minnesota at the end of December last year, Raime swims for both the high school team and the Metroplex Aquatics club team. Due to her recent move, she is still learning more about her teammates and experiencing the “everything’s bigger in Texas” mentality.

“Maybe I don’t know everyone super-well yet, but I still have fun getting to know them,” Raime said. “So far it’s been a really cool experience because sports are taken to another level here, almost– like all sports, I think. In competing for my club and the high school, it’s been really different, and I’ve gotten to know so many more people because it’s two teams I’m a part of.”

Raime’s siblings also swim, and there’s a balance between competition and mentorship in their relationships. One of Raime’s brothers, sophomore Jed Jones, said Raime sometimes helps him with his training, and Jed also offers advice to the two youngest siblings.

“During weights and stuff she’ll help me figure out what to do and [help with] forms and stuff,” said Jed, the 5A state runner up of the 200 yard individual medley. “We were [competitive] last year, but then I started to get a lot faster than her, so we don’t really talk about that. [I don’t feel pressure from Raime’s success] as much with swimming but in school, for sure, because she’s very smart.”

Raime said her best events are the 200 freestyle and 200 individual medley, and she has set school records in the 100 and 200 free. Before winning a first place medal at state, Raime was named Swimmer of the Meet at the district meet and won the 200 free and 500 free, and her team won the 400 free relay. At the regional meet, she again won the 200 free and 500 free, and her team placed second in the 400 free relay.

“Raime has very high expectations for herself and has worked extraordinarily hard to become an accomplished athlete,” high school swim coach Matthew Franks said. “She’s got an intensity to the way she does things, and she wants to know where she can make improvements. Those are very hard things to develop in an athlete, and along with God-given ability, [it] definitely helps set her apart from most athletes.”

She’s got an intensity to the way she does things, and she wants to know where she can make improvements. Those are very hard things to develop in an athlete, and along with God-given ability, [it] definitely helps set her apart from most athletes.”

— Matthew Franks

Talks with Yale commenced in January of last year, though Raime had been receiving offers from multiple schools since September of her junior year. At Ivy League schools, athletic scholarships are not available and all financial assistance is need-based, meaning Raime was not promised money. However, this did not deter her consideration of the school.

“Being recruited by them was really cool because it was unlike a lot of other schools that I talked to that maybe could give me money, per se, in that because they’re not giving me money, I feel like I’m doing it because I want to and less of like, ‘Oh, we’re paying you, so you better perform,’” Raime said. “But it’s still going to be on the same athletic level as anything else would.”

Raime committed to Yale in the middle of September. However, Raime and her family had to overcome some preconceptions concerning the school.

“[Yale] can have a negative reputation for being really, really liberal or the town around it sometimes has been described as being a little unsafe,” Raime said. “But we went and visited and I just fell in love with it. All of the stereotypes about it I didn’t feel like [were] true, and my mom agreed with me, so that changed our minds about it.”

Before heading to Yale, Raime has club sectionals at Texas A&M University and nationals this summer. Raime said she wants to “set [herself] up for having a lot of confidence going into college,” where she will strive to grow as much as possible.

“In college, I feel like I haven’t unlocked a lot of my potential yet,” Raime said. “Obviously coming to Texas and training so much harder than I was in Minnesota, it kind of feels like a new door has been unlocked. I don’t know how far the sport can take me, so I feel like I can’t specifically pinpoint a certain goal for my entire swimming career, but I just want to see how far I can go with it. I wouldn’t say I couldn’t do anything because what if I can?”

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