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Raylee Hunt has been the first one to cross the finish line at the state cross country meet each of the last two years, but she’s not running this fall season. “Before state track, I was having shin issues,” Raylee explained.  “I realized at the end of track I had a stress fracture.  I wasn’t able to run for two months and I was just swimming during that time and that’s when I realized that swimming, long term, is a better option and I started to love it a little bit more.”

“I chose not to run cross country this year because I wasn’t clear to run until August 30th and by that time I was so behind in training, and I knew that trying to bring my mileage back up and not reinjure myself and focusing on visits and college stuff would be a lot to handle and process.  I knew that in order for me to do well in one thing, which I chose swimming, that I would have to focus on that.”

Raylee is putting her focus this fall and winter in the water.  She announced last month she is going to join the swimming and diving program at Duke University. “It’s funny, a year ago I went to a cross country camp at Duke and I thought Duke is my dream school to run at,” she recalls.  “Once I chose to swim in college, Duke reached out to me and I was so happy.”

Raylee won 100-yard breaststroke at the state swimming and diving championships last February and loves the family atmosphere around the pool. “They’re actually like my second family,” Raylee said.  “My coach is the most supportive and encouraging person, and the same with my teammates, I love them.”

As for running, Raylee is a two-time state champion in the 800 meter and 1600-meter races and was a part of last year’s 800-meter and medley relay teams.  She plans to defend her titles on the track in the spring, but to be clear, her workouts are in the water for now. “I cut quite a bit of time off my breaststroke events,” said Raylee.  “I’m definitely going to be doing more IM (individual medley) this season and my goal is to get the state record in the 100 breast.”

She set the 3A state record in the 800-meter run last spring, maybe she’ll add another record to her resume in the pool this winter.

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