Student-athlete spotlight: Arapahoe's Fletcher Hayes swims hard after pandemic year

Arapahoe swimmer is headed to Division I competition at Auburn


Arapahoe senior swimmer Fletcher Hayes still has a positive attitude about this season despite the differences brought on by COVID concerns.

Hayes, who is headed to swim for Auburn University next season, was a participant in the 2018 boys state championships. Then he swam on two relay teams, was third in the 200 IM and the runner-up in the 500-yard freestyle in the 2019 state meet.

Swimming was canceled because of COVID in the spring of 2020.

“I do have high hopes for this season, but it is a little different because so far the plan is to have the state meet time finals, and the dual meets so far this year have been weird because they have all been virtual,” said Hayes. “I’m just glad we will have a state meet, to be honest. It’s nice being back together with the team in the pool with the coaches and everything.”

After the disappointment of last spring, Hayes is ready to make noise this season.

“As a team we were really disappointed about the 2020 season,” said Hayes. “We had high hopes and were really excited about what we thought we could do. Then it got all taken away from us.

“As a sophomore (in 2019) I wasn’t really expecting the results that I got. My freshman year I got like eighth and sixth in both my individual events, and I was kind of expecting something the same or maybe like a fifth or fourth place. I really surprised myself (in 2019).

“It’s been nice so far this season because you can put your head down and train and not worry about anything else because you don’t have to ride a bus to another school and all that. The meets remind me of time trials because I’m racing my own teammates in my own pool, no one else is there, no fans in the stands. It’s definitely nice to have my teammates there because they help a lot. I just go with the flow during the meets.”

Arapahoe swim coach Mike Richmond doesn’t worry about how Hayes will perform.

“Fletcher Hayes is a vocal leader and outstanding senior captain as well as a high-performance competitor,” offered Richmond. “Day after day, Fletcher’s workout performances astound his teammates and coaches. Despite his excitement and eagerness to attend Division I swimming power Auburn University, Fletcher has consistently proven to be dedicated, driven and committed to his teammates at Arapahoe High School.”

It’s still early in the 2021 abbreviated swim season, so Hayes doesn’t know what the game plan will be for the remainder of the season. He has been clocked in at 1:41.81 in the 200 freestyle and :51.90 in the 100 backstroke.

“Every season has been different,” he said. “I haven’t competed in some of the events yet so we really don’t know. After I swim at all the events I will be able to meet with the coaches and discuss what they think and what I think.”


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