BYU freshman qualifies for 2020 Olympic trials

Emma Wiles
BYU swimmer Brynn Sproul stands next to the newly-constructed swimming facility. (Emma Wiles)

Brynn Sproul is everything you’d expect when picturing an Olympic prospect. She stands tall at five-foot-eleven, with an athletic build. Her dad, Willie, says she’s incredibly tenacious, and her coach, Yolanda Bates, says she’s a natural-born leader.

What you might not expect of Sproul is her age. At just 18 years old, Sproul is one of the youngest Olympic prospects to come out of BYU. As a freshman, Sproul has only been competing at the collegiate level for about four months.

Sproul has always wanted to qualify for the Olympic trials — she just never expected it to be so soon.

“It was at nationals when I got my cut,” she said. “It had been a goal of mine. I wasn’t expecting to get it that soon. It was a good surprise. I had a really good evening and it just came.”

Emma Wiles
BYU swimmer Brynn Sproul practices her back stroke in the pool. (Emma Wiles)

Sproul qualified for the trials after an impressive performance at the recent national meet. Sproul placed 11th with an official time of 1:02.67 in the 100-meter backstroke.

Sproul first began working toward her Olympic goal in high school under the guidance of her coach Lorena Diaconescu. Under Diaconescu, Sproul said she began to make the serious needed improvements to her backstroke.

Now at BYU, Sproul works closely with her new swimming coach Yolanda Bates to continue the progress she began in high school.

“We’re still getting used to each other because she’s just a freshman,” Bates said. “We’re still trying to figure out what works for her and how can I can motivate her and keep her working hard.”

While the swimmer-coach duo is still navigating their new relationship, Bates said she has high hopes for her athlete.

“As we work with each other and she develops, she is going to get better,” Bates said. “I’m looking forward to our goal.”

Bates isn’t the only one looking forward to Sproul’s upcoming appearance at the Olympic trials. Sproul’s father, Willie Sproul, is also rooting for his daughter’s success. 

Emma Wiles
BYU swimmer Brynn Sproul showing off her freestyle sprint. (Emma Wiles)

“I remember when BYU (was first) interested to have her swim,” he said. “We just felt like, ‘Wow, that’s amazing. I can’t believe it.’ Then being able to get the Olympic (trials), I was so happy for her.”

While Sproul’s talent in the pool is undeniable, her father asserts it’s her tenacity that really sets the young Olympic prospect apart from her peers.

“She always was tenacious,” he said. “When she ever started something, she tried her best. She just would get this determined, intense face, and she would just keep coming. She would never relent. She would never back down.”

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