Junior swimmer successful at Junior Nationals

Hayden Zheng places second in meet with top swimmers in US


Ava Ashby

Junior Hayden Zheng wins the 500-yard freestyle against Benilde-St. Margaret’s Dec. 19. Zheng will compete for the high school team for the rest of the winter season after attending the Junior Nationals meet outside Seattle, Washington.

Tobias Khabie

According to junior swimmer Hayden Zheng, coach Amanda Forsberg was a crucial part of getting where he is today.

“Forsberg has me three months out of the year during the high school season, and those are always my best months,” Zheng said. “(I) give props to her for taking care of me (and) always making me better.”

According to Zheng, he placed second in the 200 yard breaststroke at a Juniors Nationals meet Dec.14 in Washington. 

Senior captain Zachary Weiser said he was not surprised with the success Zheng had due how hard he works every day.

“I obviously knew that he was fast coming in,” Weiser said. “I’ve seen his work ethic and how, even though he’s swimming every day, sometimes twice a day, his work ethic really never falters.”

Zheng said he was sure he would succeed in the meet due to his training regimen in the weeks prior.

“It was definitely the best training I’ve had,” Zheng said. “I was really confident going into the meet, with all the work I put in the weight room and in the pool.”

Despite his success, he was still disappointed as he only lost by less than a second, according to Zheng.

“To be honest, I wanted to win really badly, and I knew I could. At first I was pretty mad,” Zheng said. “I got edged out by just a fraction of a second, so that makes it a little bit tougher.”

Weiser said Zheng’s disappointment in his second placement isn’t out of the ordinary, as he is always striving for first place. 

“Forsberg has me three months out of the year during the high school season, and those are always my best months. (I) give props to her for taking care of me (and) always making me better.””

— Hayden Zheng

“I know that he’s always trying to win and he recognizes his like technique was sloppy and that it could have been improved in, while a lot of us might not have been able to notice that,” Weiser said. 

Zheng also credited his teammates as a big part of his success at the meet, and according to Zheng, their strong bond inspired him to work hard before the meet.

“My boys on the high school team, they’re watching, they’re texting me throughout the weekend,” Zheng said. “They push me every day and my coach, she pushes me every day. I’ve surrounded myself with a good support group.”

Weiser said the team always supports Zheng when he has big meets such as Junior Nationals.

“We’re always a fan of watching Hayden swim at our meets,” Weiser said. “We also were watching some of his events at the (Junior) Nationals meet. (It was) fun watching him compete with some of the best (swimmers) in the nation while we were all together as a team supporting him.”

Zheng will now return to the Park swim team for the season, and will then start training for the Olympic qualifiers next June. He said he will work with his team to make it to State.

“I’m in high school focus, I’m with the team completely now,” Zheng said. “We’re looking to place high and (go to) State.”