Hali Flickinger checks out her career goal by relaying Team USA

Hali Flickinger checks her career goal as she stints for Team USA

Hali Glitter made a stunning change to its lineup last year, adding grueling racing like the 400 IM in its mid-20s. It worked as she made the Olympic team in that event, with her signature 200m butterfly, and won bronze in both events in Tokyo.

With two Olympics down, before the recent USA International Swim Team Trials, Flickinger had just two goals — the same two goals she was aiming for at the end of her career.

One less, one more to go.

Whoever loses is to be part of the American team in a relay.

For someone who has qualified for the Olympic trials in almost every event, Flickinger specializes in two events that don’t offer relay spots. Very few 200 butterflies and 400 IMers make international relays. Until recently, his best events after those two might have been the 200m backstroke and the 400m freestyle, events that still don’t open up any relay spots for him.

But Flickinger quietly became one of the top 200 freestylers in the United States and finished fourth in 1:57.53, joining Katie Ledecky, Claire Weinstein and Leah Smith like the 800 free automatic qualifying stints.

“It’s been my longest goal to do a relay. To finally be able to do it, I am delighted. I’m so excited,” Flickinger said swimming world. “I was able to swim a preliminary race once in the relay, but to qualify for this is amazing. I watched the relay for so many years. It always seemed so amazing and such an honor. I am so excited to be able to have this opportunity.
It was something Flickinger wasn’t sure she would ever get. Usually relay spots are for sprint freestylers as well as race swimmers who specialize in 100s. Flickinger is neither, but found the right place at the right time.

“I would be lying if I said it wasn’t an honor that we all look up to. I’ve certainly been envious of those who manage to get on the blocks and on the podium with your teammates. I had in mind that it might not happen or happen very often,” she said.

Flickinger said the 200 freestyle is still a work in progress.

“I was 1:57 mi four years ago, so I wasn’t necessarily happy with the time, but it shows that I’m much more capable of doing more than I did in this race,” she said. “It’s a strategy that I haven’t quite understood. Once I do, it could be a really big race for me. I’ve always been really good at freestyle training, and it shows in my 400 IM. I have the ability, and Bob (Bowman) has said that since I came to ASU. We had been eyeing this relay for a very long time. I’m lucky the time I posted allowed me in. We are going in the right direction. I have a lot to learn in this event.

Flickinger performed well in his other events as well. She won the 200m butterfly in 2:07.75 nearly two seconds off her US Open record set at the Olympic Trials last year, but also two seconds ahead of the field, to qualify for the U.S. championships. world.

She was fifth in the 400 individual medley (4:46.04) and fourth in the 400 freestyle (4:10.03).

But it still wasn’t the performance she was looking for, which brings us to her second goal.

“It was good. I built that 2:06 consistently. I hope there’s a breakthrough in my future. At this point, 2:06 is my mental memory at this point. I’m very happy to get the chance to swim it at the worlds, but I wasn’t happy with the weather. I haven’t had that breakout yet. I just hope one day I can see it,” said Flickinger: “It hasn’t been a goal for a while. I would just like to swim in this race once before the end of my career where I feel like that’s what I’m going for. was training.

It’s an interesting position to occupy, one that happens to elite athletes who reach a plateau. Some athletes find a way to keep going, which Flickinger seeks to do.

“I’m so grateful and so happy to have won a medal at the Olympics. But everyone who knows me knows I want more. I’m very proud of them but I’m by no means satisfied. I’m more satisfied with the 400 IM because I don’t think anyone thought I would have won a medal in that one. This one is a bit more special to me. It was very out of left field for everyone,” she said.

That’s why she puts in the extreme amount of work to make it happen. The smallest drop in time can take the most work in a career.

“The one thing I’m so confident in is how hard I work. I know the times I’ve posted in my career don’t match the way I train. We’re all a bit frustrated with this, but it shows how hard I trained to do this at 27. My body doesn’t work the same way it did when I was a teenager or in my early twenties. not easy when you’re my age,” Flickinger said. “It’s the fact that I haven’t had moments that I know I’m capable of. This hope that it will one day come true motivates me every day. I want it for me. I want it for my coaches and teammates who see it every day and believe in me.

“There’s so much more to it. I hope I can see it.

It could happen this summer, with the whole world to see it.