LARAMIE – Former Green River High School swimming standout Avery Otto-Horn is on her way to the Mountain West Conference Championships at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The University of Wyoming sophomore was one of the few swimmers from her team selected to compete in the conference swim meet on Feb. 19-22.
“I was really excited. I actually cried,” Otto-Horn said. “Our team has 46 girls and they’re only taking 24, including four divers, so they really only take 20 swimmers.
“It’s really tough because with school alone, you do like 15 hours of school a week if you’re a full-time student. And on top of that, we train 20 hours a week. So, I was in the pool or in the weight room for 20 hours a week. It was almost a full day.”
Otto-Horn competes in the 50-yard freestyle, 100-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly.
Naturally, she is a little nervous but still remains confident in her ability to place high.
“I’m just trying to stay as calm as I can because it is televised so I’m kind of really nervous. I just want to be able to make it to finals. That’s my main goal going into it,” she said. “But really, I’m just really trying to go into it and do everything I can to help my team place higher.”
This season hasn’t come without its challenges and obstacles, however. But over the last two years, Otto-Horn has learned that people can overcome anything, if they set their mind to it.
“I got really sick in December. I had a kidney infection. That was really hard for me to overcome. I learned that no matter what your body is telling you how you feel, if you mentally feel like that you can something, you can,” she said.
As a Wyoming Cowgirl, Otto-Horn found out that swimming is not just about the individual swimmer.
“Being on the team here, I learned swimming is more of a team sport. When I was at Green River, it was more individualized and its kind of sad to say, but we didn’t focus as much as being a team,” she said.
“Here, I learned that you’re not only swimming for yourself, but for your team. So, like if they make you swim a hard event and you don’t want to, you have to do it for your teammates so we can score higher.”
In fact, she believes that being a part of a team has helped her become a better individual swimmer overall.
“It’s really cool when you get out of a race and all your teammates are there, watching you and cheering for you at the end of your lane, rather than getting out and immediately talking to a coach. You have a whole support group of people there as well, going through everything with you,” Otto-Horn said.
When she was swimming for the Green River Wolves, Otto-Horn was a winner on many different levels and broke numerous school records.
She earned all-state and all-conference honors four times and was a four-time conference champion and two-time state champion, including winning the state championship in the 100-yard butterfly.
She holds four different school records, which includes two individual team records in the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly.
The Mountain West Championships can be viewed by downloading the FloSports app on Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, the App Store or Google Play Store.