Race to qualify


photo by Cheryl Boddiford

Boddiford stands tall after winning the Seminole County Swimmer of the Year award for the third time in a row on Thursday, May 19. This award is sponsored by Bright House Sports Network and is given to athletes every year for their hard work and dedication.

It is 6 a.m. when she dives into the icy pool. The grogginess of the morning adds a weight to her shoulders but with each stroke of her arm, the pressure wanes. After a training session and eight hours of school, she again dives into the pool with only one goal in mind: to qualify for the National swim meet in August and the Olympic Trials in early July. With intense training and unwavering focus, junior Ashley Boddiford hopes to make it there.

Since the age of three, Boddiford was involved in a wide range of activities such as piano, horseback riding and dance, only to settle on one activity: swimming. She had always been known as a “swimmer kid.” The kind of child her parents could never get out of the pool or sit still. After swimming competitively for over 10 years, she was awarded Bright House Sports Network’s Seminole County Swimmer of the Year award on Thursday, May 19 for the third time.

“It’s pretty amazing that I’ve had that streak since I was a freshman,” Boddiford said. “It’s a big deal in swimming.”

The award gives swimmers the opportunity to be recognized for their outstanding racing times and determination to succeed. Boddiford has also been a Regional champion, a District champion for the 100 individual medley for all three years of high school and is this year’s rising team captain. Traveling abroad to meets and competitions is what drives her to continue.

“The sport is intense,” Boddiford’s mother, Cheryl Boddiford said. “We have always made it a point to travel to her meets and support her as a family.”

Boddiford currently races for the Blue Dolfins club team and trains in seasonal cycles throughout the year. Competitions, which she trains for six days a week before and after school, are what qualify her for bigger and better meets such as the Olympic Trials in early July and Nationals in August. With only three five-day breaks a year in August, December and May, Boddiford hopes to qualify for the trials and also improve her overall racing time at Nationals.

“[The training] has really upped,” Boddiford said. “It is more specified and quality-oriented rather than quantity now because we don’t have a long time to train for [the meets].”

Compared to Boddiford’s national meets in California and other states, the Olympic Trials are one of the fastest and most competitive meets in the world for her age group. Now that school is out of session, Boddiford will be focusing on training over the summer to qualify for these challenging meets. This training is also what got her to be a six-time state finalist and a school record breaker for the 200 individual medley.

“Moments where she wins these huge awards are so great because you can see how much her hard work pays off,” Boddiford’s sister, Brooke Boddiford said.

Since Boddiford will be a senior next year, the question is whether she will swim after high school or not. She has looked at a few campuses and has met with various teams and coaches but has not yet chosen a college.

“[If I qualify for the Olympic Trials] that would be incredible just to swim in the most competitive meet in the world,” Boddiford said. “But I definitely plan on swimming after high school one way or another.”

Because she has time to make this decision, Boddiford is putting it on hold for now. For her, there are bigger goals ahead that require her attention, like qualifying for Nationals and perhaps the Olympic Trials. She hopes all her hard work will pay off in the end.

“I feel truly blessed that she is recognized for all of her hard work and dedication,” Cheryl Boddiford said. “I could not be prouder.”