CARY — Hannah Moore thinks about music and homework while she churns out the miles during daily swimming workouts that last two hours and 15 minutes.
The Green Hope High senior has used that kind of mental focus to endure the rigors of training while becoming one of the top swimmers in the nation in her age group.
But her mind was never more directed toward winning than during the USA Swimming Junior Winter Nationals in Greensboro on Dec. 12. Moore glanced around midway through the 500-yard freestyle and realized there was no competition in sight.
I thought, Oh my gosh, Im winning! she recalled. I didnt see anyone in front of me.
Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed Andrew DeSorbo, her club coach with Carys Triangle Aquatics Club Titans, enjoying the moment on the pool deck.
My coach was freaking out, and I just put my head down and went for it, Moore said. It was awesome to win. Ive always wanted to win a Junior Nationals title.
Moore had entered the final nervous and unhappy with her preliminary performance that included only the sixth-best mark among the finalists. She had never finished better than seventh in previous Junior Nationals meets.
Moore won in 4 minutes, 43.04 seconds, a one-second improvement over her lifetime best. She won by 0.99 seconds.
Equally important to Moores future she has committed to the University of Michigan and dreams of NCAA success and a shot at the Olympics she had broken through a ceiling she had been tapping on throughout her competitive career.
She has a national title and is now among the national junior elite.
Moore has moved from club competition to junior nationals, to nationals and U.S. Olympic trials. The 2012 Olympic trials included an opportunity to compete against Missy Franklin, the world-record holder who won four gold medals at the 2012 London Games.
When I progressed to the national level, I found there were so many girls just as fast as me, Moore said. I like to put myself in the mindset I trained harder than them.
When I show up at a meet, I think to myself, No one here has done what Ive done. I think that way when Im training so when I get to the meet I know Im ready.
Moores success hasnt diminished her enthusiasm for high school swimming. Last year, she helped Green Hope to a 4A state runner-up finish. She set an NCHSAA record in the 100 backstroke and also won the state 500 free.
The high school season is different from the club season, but I really enjoy swimming for Green Hope, Moore said. I have a lot of friends on the team, and this year will be especially fun with my sister Katie on the team.