Cavalier Corner

February 2019

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FEBRUARY 2019 25 meet attracted the best of the best: Michigan (No. 1 in the nation as of Jan. 24, accord- ing to, California (No. 6), Georgia (No. 10), Virginia (No. 17) and UCLA (No. 27). "There are probably two or three mid- season championship formats at the highest level, and the Georgia Invite is one of them," DeSorbo said. "She swam lifetime personal bests in every race except the 200 free. "To be able to do that in the middle of the season and swim at such a high level says a lot about what her potential is down the line." Hill, who advanced to the 100 freestyle finals at the 2018 Phillips 66 National Championships during the summer of 2017, wasn't expecting to swim at such a high level at that point in the campaign. "I definitely was surprised at my perfor- mance," she said. "I didn't expect best times in the middle of the season. It definitely gives me confidence going into the rest of the year." Going into this season, Hill had seven All-America honors (three in individual events and four in relays), four ACC cham- pionships (all in freestyle relays) and five All-ACC honors (one individual event and four relays) on her résumé. Of all the components that go into making a tal- ented swimmer, DeSorbo focused on one in particu- lar for Hill. "She does everything well," he said. "I would say her strength is her kick. She kicks better than any female I've ever coached and is faster than a lot of guys. "She doesn't fade with her kick. She goes 200 or even 500 and is able to maintain her kick." "I think I've always been a hard worker," Hill said when told about her coach's as- sessment of her abilities. "At Virginia, you learn the value of hard work, and you're in a program where hard work is the norm. You learn to work hard every day and push yourself beyond what you think you can do. "I think overall strength is something I've gained. This coaching staff is good at find- ing new and innovative ways, so that I learn something new at practice. There's always something they can teach me about swimming. It never gets boring, which is part of my success." Hill gave a premonition of things to come when she was named UVA's Female Rookie of the Year and qualified for the NCAA Champion- ships in the 50, 100 and 200 freestyles as a first-year in 2016-17. "She really pays attention t o d e t a i l ," DeSorbo said. "We as coaches teach them a lot of details, and she picks up on the de- tails we give her. She makes changes in adjust- ing her stroke. "She has an ability to feel the water and be aware of her body more so than the average person. That enables her to excel. I don't see where she's anywhere near her ceiling. She's going to keep getting better." Hill, who is from Olney, Maryland, was not heavily recruited and admits she never envisioned having the type of success she's enjoyed at Virginia. "Three or four schools were interested in me, but I wanted to find a place that had a balance between athletics and academics," she said. "I didn't think all this would happen. I can attri- bute a lot of my success to my team. The experi- ences I've had here have helped me to succeed. " T h e i n d i v i d u a l coaches I've had and the teammates I'm sur- rounded with every day have been major factors." Hill still has one and a half years remaining at Virginia, and she's set specific goals. "One of my main goals is getting better every season," she said. "I try not to com- pare myself with other swimmers. "As a team I know we have bigger goals like winning the ACCs and finishing high in the NCAAs." "We as coaches teach them a lot of details, and she picks up on the details we give her. … I don't see where she's anywhere near her ceiling. She's going to keep getting better." UVA HEAD COACH TODD DESORBO ON HILL As of Jan. 24, Hill owned the nation's 10th-best time in the 100 freestyle (47.83) and the 11th- best time in 50 freestyle (22.05). PHOTO BY KARL L. MOORE/COURTESY UVA FEBRUARY 2019 25 PHOTO BY MATT RILEY/ COURTESY UVA

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