Hannah Moore got a hug this year that she will remember for a long time.
The Green Hope junior reached the semifinals in the 200-meter backstroke in the U.S. Olympic Trials, the nation’s biggest swimming event in 2012. She finished 11th among the best backstrokers in the country.
She shared the Omaha, Neb., pool with eventual London Olympic stars Missy Franklin (four gold medals) and Elizabeth Beisel (silver and bronze). She even got a hug from Franklin.
“The Trials was the craziest time,” Moore said. “The idea of actually swimming with people who have been my role models was incredible.”
Moore spent time in the ready room with Franklin, who is now a high school senior.
“She was really nice and wished everyone good luck,” Moore recalled. “It was just amazing.”
Now Moore is swimming in the Raleigh Swimming Association and with her classmates at school.
She won the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A championship in the 200-yard individual medley (2:01.56) and the 500 freestyle (4:51.20) last year as a sophomore and would be among the favorites in just about whatever event Falcons coach Lauren Nosal enters her.
“All of my line-ups are created on what is best for the whole team,” Nosal said. “Hannah is a very versatile swimmer, so she can really be put in any event and we can still count on her to be competitive.”
Moore doesn’t know what events she will pursue in high school this year. She chose the IM last year because in the order of events there was more time between the IM and the 500 free. But the idea of competing in her best event is intriguing.
Moore has been a year-round swimmer since she was 7 years old, about the same time she started playing soccer.
“She has always enjoyed swimming, but we wanted her to make her own decision about what she wanted to play,” said Amy Moore, her mother.
Older brother William Moore chose soccer and helped Green Hope to the 2011 NCHSAA 4A title.
But for Hannah, the appeal of swimming was greater.
“I think swimming appealed to her because it is a team sport, but is an individual sport, too,” her mother said. “Other sports can be so subjective, but with swimming your time is your time.”
Soccer frustrated her, Moore said. “You were so dependent on the rest of the team,” she said. “In swimming, you get out what you put in. You decide how much you are willing to put in.”
But Nosal said Moore is a great teammate.
“Hannah is a friendly face on the pool deck,” Nosal said. “While she works hard, she is also friends with her teammates and you can tell they have fun together.”
Being with her teammates multiplies the fun, Moore said. She also is enjoying the early process of selecting a college program.
“It is really exciting,” she said. “This is something I have never done before.”
First, though, she is aiming for the U.S.A. Junior Nationals at the University of Tennessee in December. She is training with those races in mind.
“Going fast is fun,” she said.