Growing up in York County, bronze medal winner Hali Flickinger swam for Spring Grove and York YMCA. Those same swimmers fought for their own medals this weekend.
When the 27-year-old swimmer won bronze in the 400 individual medley at the Tokyo Olympics, the entire state of Pennsylvania cheered her on. A special moment for the Midstate, but even more so for the hundreds of swimmers trying to follow in her footsteps.
“It’s an honor because we’ve looked up to her our whole life,” said Cumberland Valley swimmer Mary. “We’ve been watching her on TV, and it’s so cool to know that she swam [here too].”
The Capital Area Swim League All-Star Championships in Carlisle featured those swimmers on Sunday.
“It feels really cool,” said Cumberland Valley swimmer Aubrey. “To know that you’re swimming in a pool that an Olympian swam in is just really cool.”
Flickinger routinely gives back to the York YMCA and Spring Grove team. In fact, her family is selling Go Hali shirts and the proceeds all go to her former teams.
The Olympian has done video calls with the Spring Grove team explaining how she trains, what it takes to swim in the Olympics and answered questions.
“She’s a really great swimmer,” said Spring Grove swimmer Zoe Welsh. “I look up to her and I really want to be in the Olympics just like her.”
The impact Flickinger had going to her first Olympics in Rio 2016 was palpable. Now, as a medal winner, her reach continues to grow, inspiring the next generation to swim like Hali.
Flickinger’s next competition is the 200 meter butterfly, in which she is one of the favorites to win. Preliminary heats and semifinals are on Tuesday, July 27 and 200m Butterfly Finals are on Wednesday, July 28.