At just 18 Torri Huske holds the 100m fly American record, a performance she achieved not one but twice at the National Swimming Trials in the U.S. back in June, and the teenage swimming sensation is just getting started. Saying she is fast is an understatement!
Her mental strength and determination are probably Huske’s biggest assets and her double culture, Chinese and American, makes her extra special.
“Fly and die,” is how she calls her race strategy, meaning she goes all out in the first 50m, and hopes she has enough left for the last 50. It is bold and unique and it works for her.
Her trials performance was intense: less than a minute after Huske and the other seven women in her semifinal dove into the Olympic trials pool, she touched the wall in a new U.S. record time of 55.78, breaking compatriot Dana Vollmer’s mark of 55.98, which she set while winning the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics.
“She just wanted to get up there and race. She didn’t follow the order. You have to want it. You have to be confident. You just don’t want to be the norm. That is her, ” says her coach Evan Stiles.
On the second night of the trials, Huske imposed herself again in the 100m fly. She reconfirm the American Record. She swam the first 50m in a blazing 25.65 seconds. She swam the second 50m in 30.01, which gave her the best time of the world this year. She fell not far from the World Record from Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom, set at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Huske said after the race: “I was so focused on the finals that I kind of dismissed the American record the night before,”, “because it doesn’t matter if you set the American record and then you don’t make the team. I knew that was still a possibility because the girls there are so fast and it’s just so competitive.”
Huske faced many difficulties during the pandemic to continue her training. Her father, Jim Huske, helped her find a pool to resume with her practice but not without many obstacles in the way. The pool was only 42 feet long (almost 13m), very short by an elite swimmer’s standards but she persisted for 6 weeks. She somehow managed to use this extra year, after the postponement of the Games, to become the fastest in the pool.
“I was freaking out when all the pools first closed,” Huske said, “but when the Olympics were postponed and I knew we had another year, it was a relief. I knew that time would be beneficial to me.”
In an interview with NBC Olympics, her mother Ying Huske said: “I was afraid that she would be feeling fatigued, mentally and physically, from the extra year of training, but it turned out it’s better for her.”
Ready to take on her first ever Olympic Games, the young lady from Arlington, Virginia, who has just graduated from high school, is one of the 11 teenagers that will represent the USA at the Games in less than 5 days.