Peterson signs to swim with University of Georgia

Peterson signs to swim with University of Georgia
Posted on 11/13/2016


(front, L-R): William Peterson, Emmaline Peterson (Back. L-R): HHS Athletic Director, Coach David Craft,  HHS Principal, Katherine Cater, HHS Coach Cathy Hitchcock and YSST Coach Jon Jolley.


Emmaline Peterson Signs to Swim

for University of Georgia

 (Photos/post by Beverly Snowden, HPS director of communications)

Emmaline Peterson, a senior at Hickory High School, recently signed a National Letter of Intent to swim with the University of Georgia.

Coached at Hickory High by Head Swimming Coach, Cathy Hitchcock, Peterson was named a High School All-American in the 500 Freestyle (all three years as well-2014, 2015, and 2016).  In swimming, this is the top 100 swims in that event nationwide.

As the 500 Freestyle -3A State Champion (2014, 2015, 2016),  Peterson holds the 3A State record since 2014, and she holds the HHS team record since 2014.

Peterson is also a member of YSST (Hickory Foundation YMCA Seahorse Swim Team) where she has won the 800 and the 1500 Meter Freestyle races at YMCA Nationals for two years in a row.  She has been coached by Y Coach, Jon Jolley. She has also been a part of the National Select Camp for United States Swimming.  At the end of this past summer, 2016, Emmaline achieved the Olympic Trial qualifying time in the 800 Meter Freestyle.

"Emmaline is a very talented swimmer.  She is undefeated in the 500 Freestyle statewide.  This means that she has won every 500 Freestyle race that she has competed in for Hickory High,” said Hitchcock. 

“Emmaline sets her mind upon a goal and does everything that she can to be successful.  She is a leader by example in the pool.  As a Hickory High team member, she is also very versatile.  Emmaline has competed and scored in every event that is offered in the high school meet lineup,” said Hitchcock.

“I considered the University of Georgia in Athens because I am from Atlanta originally and I have also loved the state of Georgia,” said Peterson. “UGA has always been my dream school because they are the D1 NCAA champs and the school has many great opportunities in academics. A lot of Olympians this year were from UGA.”

In training since she was seven years old, Peterson stated her training will remain constant until the start of college. “I will keep working hard every day, every practice. College starts late August and although swimming is a year-long sport, the main racing season starts around October and ends in March. My primary coach at UGA will be the distance coach Harvey Humphries,” said Peterson.

Undecided with regards to her major of study at UGA, Peterson, who is a member of the HHS Beta Club, said that she is considering nutrition or forensic psychology. But swimming will clearly continue to be a focus in her life—as the sport taught her more about life than simply performing the best results in a race.

“I could write a lot about what all I have learned about swimming. I've learned how to deal with negative people; how to work hard when things get tough and how to never let failure define you,” said Peterson. “I've learned a lot about the difference between being a boss and being a leader. I've met so many amazing people who have taught me the right, and wrong ways of forming a great team.

“Swimming has given me much confidence and has taken me places I would have never imagined. I will always be thankful for the experiences I was lucky to have,” added Peterson.

“Coach Cathy, the head swimming coach at Hickory High, is one of the most amazing coaches,” said Peterson.  “Whenever she coaches me, whether it is a bad day or a good day, I leave practice feeling self-confident. She is optimistic towards everyone; there’s not a mean bone in her body. I have been really lucky to be able to swim for her these past four years of high school.

“Some of my proudest achievements are winning a Y-national title four times, awarded an Olympic trial cut, and being the 500 Free State champion for three years in a row. One thing I will never forget is my experience at the Olympic training center last year. Because of my time in the mile, I was selected to participate in the national select camp where you train with some of the best swimmers in the country,” said Peterson. “I also learned more about the sport from some of the top coaches in the country. The national team was training there (aka Michael Phelps, Sierra Schmidt, Allison Schmidt) and I got to spend time with them,” she said.

Peterson credits her parents, William B Peterson and the late Christine Peterson, with the ability to swim and find her passion for the sport. “My mom passed away from breast cancer about two years ago, but until then, she always supported me no matter how I swam,” said Peterson. “She just wanted me to be happy with the sport. She wasn't worried about how well I swam. Same with my dad as he has done so much to help me to be able to swim. Since my mom passed, he has worked very hard with helping me keep positive and stay happy with this sport. My mom and dad have shown such great support throughout my swimming career, and I am so thankful for it,” said Peterson.

“I would love to be a professional athlete; that is the dream. But I've got to keep things realistic,” said Peterson.

Having formed strong bonds with multiple friends at Hickory High, Peterson shared that she will mostly miss her great friends when she leaves for college. But she also acknowledged some strong teachers who influenced her along the way, including: Mrs. Burdecki (Oakwood), Mrs. Kahn (Northview), Mrs. Lail (Northview), and Mrs. Yount (Hickory High). I really enjoyed English throughout my time at Hickory High. All of the teachers I have had have really impressed me,” said Peterson.

“I will miss Hickory and the many amazing people I have been able to meet over the past few years. It's crazy that I will be leaving so soon,” said Peterson.

Emmaline Peterson celebrates her UGA signing with some of her best buds at Hickory High.

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