5 Questions With a Trials Qualifier: Virginia Hinds

By: Rich House

Virginia lives in Chevy Chase, MD and is a rising Junior at Bethesda Chevy Chase High School. Each summer, since she was 7 years old (earliest results we have), she has competed in the MCSL for the Chevy Chase Recreation Stingrays and year-round with All Star Aquatics. In the past year and a half, Virginia has made her mark on the swimming community, both locally and at the National level. In late July 2023, she swam her first Speedo Jr. National meet, competing in the 100 and 200 Backstroke, finishing 27th in the 100 and 24th in the 200, posting a personal best of 2:16.95 in the 200. Her next National competition was the Winter Jr. National meet, held December 6-9, 2023, where she placed 4th in the 100 Back (52.87), 18th in the 200 (1:55.95). As this is an Olympic year, the meet provided the opportunity for swimmers to swim long course time trials on the final day of competition. Virginia posted a very swift 1:02.52 100 Back, but was still shy of the Trials cut.
In February, 2024 Virginia went undefeated in her individual events at the Metro Championships, winning the 100 Freestyle in 49.78 and 100 Back in 53.36. She carried this momentum forward to the MPSSAA 4A3A State Championship, where she again won both the 100 Free and 100 Back events in 49.93, and 53.35! Onward to the end of March for the ISCA International Senior Cup, where trials were swum in yards, and finals in LC Meters. She again posted some best times, with a relay leadoff 100 Back 1:02.36 and in her 200 Backstroke, with a 2:15.98, still within striking distance of a Trials standard…She ended up 3rd in the high point tally and helped her Club, All Star Aquatics, capture 2nd place in both the Girls and Team Competition.
Ultimately, the NCAP Elite Qualifier held May 31–Jun 2, was the time and place for Virginia to break through the Olympic Trial standard! On the final day of competition, she set a personal best in the 200 Backstroke prelims with a 2:14.53, seeded 4th into Finals. Heading into finals, she was poised to swim against #2 (in the country) Claire Curzan, #29-Tess Howley and #36- Rielley Tiltmann. She took advantage of the opportunity and dropped and additional 1.4 seconds to get under the Olympic Trials Cut with a time of 2:13.14!!!
You can watch Virginia compete at the Trials starting on Thursday, June 20th for the 200 Backstroke Prelims, Coverage gets underway on Saturday, June 15, at 6:30 p.m. ET on USA Network. Qualifying heats will air live on Peacock with same day delayed coverage each day on USA Network.

Photo Courtesy All Star Aquatics Instagram

Here’s the 5 Questions:

RFTW: Which is more fun- Summer League or High School meets..and why?

VH: I believe Summer League meets are more fun. I enjoy interacting with both older and younger kids while also being a Junior Coach and swimmer. In addition to this, I love being a part of the energy and spirit that comes with swimming in the summer.

RFTW: What is your favorite hype song/band/artist and favorite chill song/band/artist?

VH: My favorite hype song before a race is All of the Lights and my favorite chill band to listen to is Flatland Cavalry.

RFTW: What is your ‘go to’ meal before a meet?

VH: My favorite pre-meet meal is steak, mashed potatoes, and broccoli, or buttered pasta with bread.

RFTW: What is the best advice you’ve received from a coach?

VH: My age group coach, Chris Schlegel, is the person I would thank for my love of swimming. He told me to swim without fear, put my whole heart into every event I swim, and always just have fun.

RFTW: Who has inspired you in your career (list 2, a swimmer & non-swimmer)?

VH: Two people who have inspired me in my swimming career are Coach Chris and my older sister, Clara.

RFTW: (Bonus question) What advice can you give to current age groupers looking to achieve their goals in swimming?

VH: Try your best not to get discouraged. Work hard, keep a positive attitude, and most importantly always have fun.

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