Looney is back….
AND SHE QUALIFIES FOR STATE
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Most people would not expect any athlete to come back from surgery and qualify for State, but that is just what sophomore Autumn Looney did.
She shocked many by qualifying for State as a freshman. Unfortunately during her cross country season, Looney was told that she needed to have surgery on her hips, which would mean that she would miss the majority of the swim season.
The surgery was successful and Looney was on the road to recovery, but the victory was short lived when doctors told her that she should not swim competitively anymore. Looney was never one to step down from a challenge, so she kept training to get herself back into the water.
Meanwhile Looney helped out during practices and meets by taking times and doing all that she could. “I really wanted to get back into the water, but I knew that I needed to be patient and let my body heal, and that was the hardest thing to do,” Looney said.
“It really left an impact on me seeing her do all that she could and more, but I really wanted her back in the water with us,” teammate Gloria Farmer said.
Not only did Looney move the hearts of her teammates with her relentless efforts to continue helping them, she also made one coach extremely honored, and that was Coach Marty Flentge.
“She is a phenomenal athlete as well as an amazing swimmer. This injury may have altered her physical performance, but it hasn’t changed her wonderful personality,” Flentge said.
On Jan. 7, Looney stepped up on the starting blocks for the first time since being cleared to practice. The whistle blew and she plunged into the water, treading effortlessly. By the time that the meet was over, she had qualified for State in both the 50 meter freestyle and 100 meter freestyle.
“I am more than happy to see Autumn back doing the usual,” teammate Cassiana Buehler said.
Looney said that her team is the thing that kept her going on her road to recovery. “I am glad that I got to swim and I did not get hurt. And I could not have made it back to where I am not without the support of my team because we are a family and we do not let anyone down.”