Leesville is home to a handful of athletes who compete on a national level with the best of the best. One of those athletes is Amanda Ray, a junior, who is ranked number two in North Carolina and nationally thirty-third in the class of 2020. Ray has been swimming almost all of her life and currently swims on the New Wave Swim Team in Raleigh.
“I have always loved the water and so when I was five, my parents signed me up to swim summer league,” said Ray.
However with the pressure of high school, Ray debated to quit swimming entirely. “One of my biggest struggles was probably around eighth to ninth grade when I almost quit,” said Ray. At that point, Ray had broken countless records at Wave in butterfly and freestyle. “I went over a year without dropping any time and began to dread swimming,” saiid Ray. However, when Ray came to Leesville, she decided to try out for women’s swim and made the team.
Ray also swims for the Leesville Women’s Swimming team. Ray (a distance swimmer), specializes in freestyle and butterfly. Ray has competed in the NCHSAA 4A State Championships since her freshman year. In her freshman year, she competed in the 200 medley relay, being the only freshman to compete in the event, and the 100 butterfly, where she placed first.
Ray was able to compete for the national team in mid-September. She competed at the Speedo Junior Nationals in Irvine, CA. She competed in the 100 butterfly, 400 freestyle, the 400 individual medley and the 200 butterfly, coming in first place with a time 2:23.68. She found out about her placement on the National Team soon after.
“It was kind of a surprise to be honest but I’m so excited,” said Ray.
Throughout her time at Wave Swimming, Ray credits her teammates and her coaches for motivating her through her tough times. “Since I was eleven I have had the same coach. I’ve also had the most supportive teammates and would have never been able to get this far without them,” said Ray.
While Ray has a future in swimming, she is not sure about how far it will go. “I know I’m going to want to swim in college but after that I’m not sure. I definitely want to stay involved with the swimming community but I also want a ‘real job’,” said Ray.
Her next meet will be in December at the Winter Nationals in Greensboro, NC.