Swimming for his future

Junior competed at the Speedo Winter Junior Championship


Courtesy of Grant Hu

Junior Grant Hu prepares for the race to begin. Along with swim, Hu takes six AP classes.

Above the lane pool, a banner is strung switching from the crest of U.S.A. Swimming to the Speedo logo. For the second time, junior Grant Hu stands on the block with his cap on and goggles down. Behind him a navy banner screams “Winter Junior Championship.” A beep tone, and he dives into the pool.

Hu competed in the Speedo Winter Junior Championship which is a national competition split into East and West divisions on Dec. 7-10 at Austin. There were about 600 swimmers at the meet, and the meet held 36 events with each event having between 50-120 swimmers. Each heat held eight people.

I’d say that I did pretty well,” Hu said. “I dropped substantial amounts of time, but I was hoping to drop a little bit more.”

After the prelims, only the top 24 make it to the finals. Before Hu competes, he listens to his hype playlist to enter his zone: a balance between a focused and relaxed mindset.

“I had tough practices since the season started in August, and once I got closer to the meet I started really focusing on details such as turns and finishes,” Hu said. “A week out from the meet, I started resting and really getting into the racing mindset.”

Hu’s first time competing at nationals was in 2021. He improved his 400 IM time from 3:58.84 to 3:51.74 and his 200 Fly from 1:51.59 to 1:48.51.

“I didn’t do too well then, largely because I had qualified a week before and I wasn’t really prepared for the meet,” Hu said. “This year, I was extremely focused on this meet, and I performed a lot better than last year.”

Hu practices 11 times a week, doing doubles Monday-Friday and Saturday mornings. He has high school practice in the mornings then club practice in the afternoon for Metroplex Aquatics.

“It meant a lot to me because all my hard work had finally paid off,” Hu said. “I had been trying to get the cut for several months, and when I finally did it, I actually went way under the time standard.”

Hu began swimming when he was 6 years old. He became swim captain last year in March during their off-season.

“My first impression of Grant was ‘wow, he’s so fast,’ sophomore Sean Easley said. “I was a bit intimidated, but getting to know him has been so easy and fun. I think he is a great captain of the swim team. He is a great leader and is really fun to hang out with.”

Coach Matthew Bolinger began coaching Hu this year but has watched him grow on his club team for 2 years.

“It’s safe to say that nearly everyone on our team has a great amount of respect for his skill,” Bolinger said. “Not only does he live up to the expectations of his teammates, he exceeds them.”

Hu hopes to make the Olympic Trials this summer, so he can swim at the trials in summer of 2024. He also set a goal to swim at a D1 school in the Ivy League for college.

“I swim because there is really no other sport that gives me the excitement, pain, and everything in between that I love about it,” Hu said. “I would not trade the people I’ve met and the memories I’ve made for the world.”