Olympic swimming dream still alive for Siler City’s Jennah Fadely

Posted 4/3/20

SILER CITY — While the outbreak of COVID-19 has brought the sports world to a virtual standstill, one local athlete continues to pursue her aspirations of becoming a world record holder in swimming …

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Olympic swimming dream still alive for Siler City’s Jennah Fadely

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SILER CITY — While the outbreak of COVID-19 has brought the sports world to a virtual standstill, one local athlete continues to pursue her aspirations of becoming a world record holder in swimming and one day representing the United States in the Olympics.

Jennah Fadely, a rising senior at Jordan-Matthews High School this fall, was born in Sanford and has always called Siler City her home. She is the daughter of Lewis and Kim Fadely and has one older sister, Morgan, who actually was the inspiration for Jennah to get into swimming.

“I have always looked up to my sister, so when she started swimming I wanted to do it too so I could be more like her,” Fadely said during a recent interview.

She started taking lessons when she was seven and began year-round swimming when she turned 13. She swam part-time with the Sanford Squids under coaches Greg Huff and Ashley Long when she was nine before moving on to swim with the Randolph-Asheboro YMCA the past five years under the guidance of her current coach, Shawn Columbia.

“Since joining our swim team, Jennah has progressed from being a good age group swimmer to being a great senior swimmer,” Columbia said. “She has continued to work at her technique, race strategies and strength, with a strong focus on breaststroke events. Her solid commitment has allowed her to obtain many individual national rankings along with qualifying times for the TYR Pro Series, YMCA Nationals and USA National Championships.”

Having already obtained her lifeguard and CPR certification, Jennah commented that one of the aspects she likes about her present team is the number of little kids involved. “I really enjoy having an opportunity to work with younger swimmers by giving them pointers and helping teach them the basic swim strokes,” she stated.

Columbia said he’s noticed how much of an influence she is on his team.

“Jennah is a team leader and positive role model,” he said. “Our younger swimmers often refer to her as ‘grandma’ because of her maturity and wisdom, and they see everyday what the potential can be when you work hard.”

While she said the breaststroke is her favorite swim stroke, Fadely added that she also enjoys freestyle and the individual medley, which consists of all four strokes (butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle). She hopes to receive a scholarship to a liberal arts college where she can continue to swim while possibly majoring in the field of art history or sports therapy.

Before concentrating on swimming, Jennah enjoyed other recreational activities such as basketball, soccer and cross country but stopped participating in those sports in middle school when she decided she liked swimming better and wanted that to be her primary focus.

Under normal circumstances, Jennah’s routine training schedule at the YMCA consists of two-and-a-half hour sessions six days a week, but with the current mandate on social distancing in effect, she is confined to practicing in her backyard pool. While her short course season (all swim meets scheduled for this spring) has been cancelled, she remains optimistic her chance to qualify for the Olympics has only been delayed for the time being.

The Olympic Trials (which occur once every four years) were originally scheduled to be held the end of June 2020 in Omaha, Nebraska. They have been postponed until further notice, but Fadely qualified for All-American consideration for her swim time clocked earlier this year in the women’s 100-yard breaststroke.

As she explained it, “The consideration time standard was 1:03.80 and my time was 1:03.32, while the automatic time standard was 1:02.58. If you make either the automatic or consideration time standard in any event, you are eligible to submit your results to the National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association, and the top 100 times submitted per event nationwide are selected to be All-Americans. I won’t know if I have been selected until sometime in June.”

Reflecting back on her junior season. Fadely said she enjoyed going to swim meets and cheering on her teammates, particularly during relays. When not in the pool, she likes painting and spending time with family.

It’s quite obvious after talking with Jennah that she has the discipline, hard-work ethic and passion to be a top-level swimmer, one who is continually striving to improve in all areas of her favorite sport. With that thought in mind, here’s wishing her the best in all her future endeavors, that success follows her wherever she goes, and that one day when our lives eventually return to normalcy we might see her representing both our community and our country on the world stage at the Olympics.


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