Coming into the 2021-22 season, redshirt sophomore Lindsay Looney didn't know if she was going to get back into the pool after a season surrounded by unknowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Looney only had one thing in mind — making the U.S. National Team — and she did that. She was named to the team on Sept. 10, a lifelong goal of hers.
"It was such an honor, I cannot wait to represent USA Swimming this way at this level," Looney said. "It was not necessarily a shock, but something that I have been trying to achieve for the last few years of my life."
Looney had the chance to represent Team USA on the biggest world stage, the Olympics, and was extremely close to making that dream a reality, coming in fourth at the USA Olympic Team Trials in June 2021 and finishing the 200 L Fly with a time of 2:08.40.
"She's a great competitor," said head coach Bob Bowman. "She has proven under the highest pressure that we can have in this country that she can do quite well."
However, Looney has faced hardships as the 2020-21 swim and dive season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All of the athletes on the swim and dive teams redshirted that season.
"It was a shock, especially experiencing your freshman year, and then going to nothing from that," Looney said. "So going ... from 100 miles an hour to zero, it was such a crazy experience."
Right after the 2019-20 NCAA Championships were canceled, Looney returned to her hometown, Denison, Texas, and decided to return to Tempe a month later.
"So experiencing that and being with my college friends that I only had known for a year, that was kind of different," Looney said.
Looney made the difficult decision to stay in Tempe throughout the summer during the height of the pandemic, ensuring she would be able to be with friends.
Looney's teammate and roommate, redshirt sophomore Katrina Marty, said she is a "great partner and great suitemate" and "is a fierce competitor who pushes me in the pool and during school in any aspect of my life."
"We both stayed here during the pandemic," Looney said. "Having her as a training partner, and having her to look over in the lane and smile with and just keep going every day is really, really special."
Looney has changed her mindset immensely from when she first started competing to now.
"I used to think I always needed to be zoned in with music in my ears, like, focus face on," Looney said. "I realized within the past, like, higher championship meets that I've gone to, I just need to surround myself with teammates and the people I really love the most."
Looney said growing up, her older brother, former New York University swimmer William Looney, swam with her and led her through life.
"He's like an idol to me ... he was kind of the reason I started so I'm continuing on that legacy."
Looney and her brother are the only two swimmers in the family as her father competed in triathlon. She said her family is what got her through the pandemic.
"I've always had a really good family support system, I am grateful for them every single day," she said.
Looney said her goals for the future are to "represent Team USA on a bigger stage at some point in the next few years."
"I hope to just make it to NCAA (Championships) again this year and see what we can do since I don't have any experience with it," Looney said.
Looney and the rest of the ASU women's swim and dive team will open up their season against Washington State University on Oct. 16 in Pullman, WA.
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