PARKERSBURG -Since the age of 7, water seemed like a natural fit for Audrey Sweeney.
The senior from Parkersburg South remembers taking swim lessons at the YMCA when her mother was the aquatic director. Sweeney also enjoyed the competition at summer league meets.
"Swimming has always been a huge part of my life," Sweeney said. "I can't imagine anything without it."
That passion has led to success in the pool, and next year she will be taking her talents to the next level at Fairmont State University. All it took was one official visit to the campus and Sweeney was sold.
"About a month ago, I went on a visit, watched a meet and went on a tour of the campus- I knew right there I loved it," said Sweeney, who recently signed a national letter of intent to join a Fighting Falcons program coached by Patrick Snively.
"Patrick Snively is a USA swim coach and someone I've known for a while," Sweeney said. "I've heard so many good things about how he runs his program."
Sweeney's resume in the high school ranks includes top 6 finishes in both the 50 and 100 freestyle the past three seasons. This winter, she is bypassing on her senior year at Parkersburg South. Instead, she will focus on YMCA and USA Swim competition.
"I'm still swimming year round," Sweeney said. "All the girls from high school who usually finish in the top 6 in the finals are usually USA and YMCA swimmers, so they are the same girls that I will be swimming against this year."
Sweeney welcomes the opportunity to work under the tutelage of YMCA coaches Tom Phillips and Sarah Nicewarner, even if it means arriving at practice at 5:30 a.m. then returning for a second session after school.
"Tom has always believed in me and pushed me to be the best," Sweeney said. "He thought I had a great stroke and could go somewhere with swimming.
"Sarah is the type of person who will tell me to shut up and swim, and stop complaining. They both work in different ways and have gotten me to where I am now."
Away from the pool, Sweeney is an accomplished bowler. In fact, several years ago she was part of a team which placed fifth at a national event in Indianapolis.
"Bowling is just awesome - I still bowl on Saturday mornings when I am not practicing in the pool or not working," Sweeney said.
Sweeney, who is the daughter of Gary and Diane Sweeney, still is undecided in terms of her major at Fairmont State.
"With all these two-a-days and dryland workouts, I plan on getting stronger and making sure I get to every practice I can in order to get ready for college swimming," Sweeney said.