Alli Haak started swimming because her parents forced her to – and for the best of reasons. When she was 7 years old, Alli fell off a dock and into the water forcing her dad to jump in and rescue his young daughter.
It wasn’t long after that incident that Alli was learning how to swim.
“My mom put me right into swimming so my dad wouldn’t have to keep jumping in the water to save me,” she said.
Haak took to swimming right away. In fact, the only other sport she even tried was gymnastics. It was clear early on she had found her stroke with swimming.
“I first started to learn to swim just to not die,” she says with a laugh. “Then I started going to some meets and it just became a regular thing for me.”
Winning has become a regular thing for the Skyline junior swimmer, who is off to another fast start this year for the Eagles.
During her freshman year, she stepped right in and made an impact. She consistently dropped times and qualified for the state meet. But she admits there was a learning curve to high school swimming.
“It was very different from anything I had ever done before,” she said. “Waking up early and doing double practices and other types of training was a new experience for me. It took some getting used to.”
And now that it has become a regular routine, getting up at 5:15 a.m. for a 6 a.m. practice isn’t that big of a deal.
Swimmers such as Haak are a big deal to Skyline Coach Maureen Isaac, who has been impressed with her standout swimmer.
“She is a different athlete this year,” Isaac says. “I am so impressed with how she has stepped up her training; it shows in the way she is able to compete.”
The coach also likes her positive approach and attitude.
“My favorite thing about Alli is that I have never heard her say a bad word about another teammate,” she said. “That’s saying something for a high schooler.”
Haak said she was about 10 years old when she first met Isaac.
“I was swimming with Huron Valley and she was a coach,” Haak said. “On weekends I would have lessons with her where we worked on my technique and it made a huge difference.”
Even though she was only a sophomore, Haak made a big splash last year at the Division 1 State Finals, earning All-State honors and helping lead the Eagles to a fourth-place finish.
She grabbed eighth place in the 200 free with a time of 1:53.52. She touched 13th in the 500 free with a time of 5:06.65.
Haak also anchored Skyline’s 200-yard medley relay team which placed second to Saline with a time of 1:44.0. She swam the third leg of the 400 freestyle relay in which the Eagles landed third with a time of 3:28.93.
This year’s she is swimming a number of different events – filling in wherever Isaac feels she helps give the team the best shot at winning. One of those times came last week in a close SEC dual-meet at Dexter. Haak had an ear infection and wasn’t sure she could swim for the Eagles, who were already down a few key swimmers and divers.
She ended up swimming four events to help her team win on the final race of the meet.
“This is definitely the best training season I’ve had so far both physically and mentally,” Haak says. “My times at meets are a lot faster this year than they were last year at this time.”
Haak, who comes into her junior year with a 3.93 grade-point average, hopes to someday swim in college and is just starting the process of figuring out where she wants to go. She hopes to study something science-related and eventually head to Medical School.
“I’m in the health and medicine program at Skyline and really like it,” she says.
And she’s proven that when she really likes something, she can be pretty good at it.