Long time standout in the pool Olivia Jackson was a triple winner in her last time competing at the Westchester County Conference championships in Rye on Aug. 9.
Jackson, swimming with the Darien Blue Wave earlier in her high school career, broke her own record in the 100-yard backstroke at the meet.
“Thursday just felt like any other race day,” she said. “I tried to stay focused no matter what was going on around me and hoped for the best possible outcome.
“It is incredibly rewarding when all of the hard work you put in during a season pays off in your final races — and it certainly did on Thursday.”
She is a senior at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, N.H. this fall, where she is captain of the girls swim and dive team.
Jackson also set a new team record in the 100 back at the New England Prep School championships last March.
She’s an appreciative athlete.
“I have had fabulous coaches throughout the summer and without them, I would definitely not be the swimmer I am today,” Jackson said. “I would have to say that I owe almost all of my success to both my parents and to my coaches.
“My parents have come to almost every meet and supported me through every race.
“And Conference Championships was no exception.”
What was the most challenging part of the meet?
Said Jackson: “For me it was the 100-yard freestyle.
“I was seeded third going into the race, which was my lowest seed. Freestyle has always been a challenge for me as some days everything just clicks, and other days I can’t seem to get going.”
She’s been on this moist stage before.
“Just like last year, I was in the lane next to the top seed,” Jackson said. “For me, the freestyle swim always sets the stage for the rest of the day. So, ideally I needed to secure a win.”
And off she went.
“I put my head down, didn’t hesitate on any turns, and reached for the finish hoping that I would sneak into that first place spot.
“Not only did I get the win I was looking for, but I also achieved a best time. And it set me up to continue to achieve success throughout the day.”
She is a varsity team record holder at Phillips Exeter Academy in the 100 backstroke in 57.13 breaking a 2010 record…has now competed in 11 Conference Championship meets, starting at age six when she was second in the 25 yard freestyle…repeated triple wins and 100 back record from last year at Westchester.
“This was my last summer Conference Championship, which makes it extra special,” Jackson said. “Next year I will no longer be of eligibility because of my age.”
Sometimes competing can be soothing, and nostalgic too.
“The weather was extremely sunny, with very little cloud cover,” Jackson added. “It was so brutally hot that diving into the salty pool actually felt incredibly nice.
“It was a day very similar to my first conference championships at age six.
She finishes this long phase of her career taking the high points award at Westchester with a perfect 60 for three events, like last year.
Her overall times from the meet were, in the 100-yard free, 53.63, the 100-yard back 59.07, and in the 100-yard butterfly 58.68.
“Both the fly and the free were best times, the backstroke was not,” said Jackson. “Freestyle was the closest race, winning only by hundredths of a second whereas both back and fly I won by roughly two seconds.
“It was an incredible day and couldn’t have gone any better. I am beyond thrilled with my finish and I look forward to another successfully year at PEA.”