5 Questions With a Trials Qualifier: Eleanor Sun

By: Rich House

Eleanor is from Bethesda, MD, grew up swimming for the Wildwood Wombats in the MCSL, where she still holds a combined 28 individual and relay records. She swam year-round for NCAP and attended Stone Ridge, where she excelled in academics as well as in the pool. During her high school career, she was a USA Swimming Academic All American and PVS Scholar Athlete all 4 years, and her Stone Ridge teams won 3 Metro, 3 ISL Championships and she was selected Washington Post All Met 1st-Team in her Senior year. (Note: Eleanor surely earned additional accolades during her high school years (and earlier) that I’m missing, these are just some of her highlights…)
In her Freshman year at Princeton, Eleanor took her swimming to the ‘next level’. In December, at the Big Al Invitational, Eleanor set personal best times in each event she swam: 200 IM 1:56.26, 400 IM, 4:06.07 and the 200 Back 1:56.54, all three NCAA ‘B’ standards. She went on to help Princeton capture the Ivy League Championship with her swims in the 200 IM (3rd), 400 IM (2nd) and 200 Butterfly (2nd), also hitting the NCAA B Standard in a personal best 1:55.87. The times she swam during the season qualified her for NCAA’s where she competed for Princeton at the NCAA Championships, finishing her 1st year of collegiate swimming helping Princeton to a #20 ranking!
This is the 2nd time Eleanor has qualified for Olympic Trials, she swam the 200 Butterfly and 400 IM in 2021! She qualified for the 2024 Trials back in June 2023, at the Phillips 66 National Championships in the 400 IM and 200 Butterfly. She got her 200 IM qualifying time during a time trial at Princeton on November, clocking a 2:15.77 to seal 3 events for the meet!

You can watch Eleanor compete at Trials starting Sunday, June 16th for the 400 IM Prelims, then Wednesday, June 19th for the 200 Butterfly Prelims and Friday, June 21st for the 200IM Prelims. Of course if all goes well, she will also swim quarterfinal/final heats in the evenings and following days! Media 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 Eleanor Sun

Here’s the Questions:

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

ES: It’s hard to pick, so I’m not going to, because they both bring the same energy and fun atmosphere that I love. Between cheering for teammates and hearing their cheers as you race, college and MCSL meets definitely bring out the team aspect of swimming, which can sometimes be hard to find. I loved how MCSL meets brought together kids of all ages on one team, but I also very much cherish the tight bonds that I formed with my college teammates. Watching others succeed alongside you is the most rewarding feeling.

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

ES: I don’t really listen to music on deck, but if I do, it’s usually on the chill side, like Zach Bryan or the Lumineers (or sometimes some country).

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

ES: Usually a bagel before prelims, and something like a sandwich (chipotle chicken avocado!) from Panera for lunch. Dinner is almost always pasta of some sort.

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

ES: Even if you are tired, or you “don’t feel good”, you can always give 100% of what you have on any given day–a practice is only wasted if you decide for it to be.

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

ES: Katie Ledecky–she’s obviously an extremely accomplished swimmer, but I’ve been lucky enough to get to know her through a few practices over the years. What she can do in the pool is mind blowing, but she is also the sweetest person, and I really admire how humble and poised she is. My parents have also been huge inspirations for me. They showed me the importance of hard work and have been the most incredible support system behind me all these years. So much goes on behind the scenes in order to prepare for the few short minutes of a race, and I have so much to thank them for.

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

ES: Don’t take it too seriously–obviously it is important to have goals which you work hard towards, but it’s also meant to be fun! There’s no point in the process if it isn’t enjoyable, so find the things in the sport that fulfill you and really hone in on that. For me, I love the feeling of accomplishment after a hard practice and getting to experience that alongside some of my best friends.

2 thoughts on “5 Questions With a Trials Qualifier: Eleanor Sun

  • Jun 14, 2024 at 1:31 pm

    Wow, what impressive accomplishments. Surely princeton university will provide such an excellent student-athlete with air-conditioned housing

  • Jun 14, 2024 at 7:20 pm

    All right Rays, let’s get ready to rumble.


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