West Orange senior Lola Foley will continue her swimming career at the University of West Florida.
Despite coming on late as a senior for the West Orange swim team, Lola Foley made the most out of her year with the program — helping the Warriors to a runner-up spot in districts before qualifying for states. Foley recently signed to swim collegiately at the University of West Florida in Pensacola.
When did you first get into swimming?
I started swimming competitively when I was about 7 years old. My mom was a swimmer, so she introduced me to the sport.
What has kept you in the sport for so long?
I just love it. I enjoy going to practice every day, and I love seeing when I improve.
You’re a bit of a journeyman when it comes to swimming. What has that been like for you?
It’s different. Actually, I moved to Oklahoma when I was a junior — from New York — and then my senior year, I moved from Oklahoma to Florida. So being in all those high schools across the country was pretty cool, because I’ve been able to swim in a couple of different places.
Is there a highlight moment for you when it comes to swimming?
This wasn’t at West Orange — it was after high school season — but I swam the 1,000-meter freestyle for the second time, and I dropped 20 seconds, which was very exciting because that’s really when I started to get recruited by a few schools.
You just signed your letter of intent to swim at the University of West Florida. What was that process like?
Given that I moved right before my senior year, I was a little late on the whole recruiting process. I emailed a few colleges, and they got back to me and gave me time standards, which I had to meet in order to receive a scholarship for their school or to be a walk-on. During that process, I visited a few schools, and I came to the decision that West Florida was the best spot for me to be at.
What was it about West Florida that you liked?
I loved the family atmosphere of the team, and I really like Coach Phil (Kraus) and his coaching philosophy.
What are you most excited about with swimming collegiately?
A dream of mine is make the NCAAs, so I really would like to work toward that. Getting to be a part of the team is very exciting to me, because I feel like it’s an instant family.
What is your favorite part about swimming?
Swimming is a great sport because when you set your mind to a goal, you really want to push your boundaries to achieve that. I really wanted to become a college athlete, and I worked really hard this year to get my times down and stuff, so it’s satisfying seeing results.
What is the most challenging part about being a swimmer?
The training would be the most challenging. The most challenging would be distance sets, which I think have helped me a lot this year in getting my times down.