Halli Williams swims freestyle during her first season on BYU Swim and Dive (BYU Photo)

‘It’s a dream for sure’ — Freshman swimmer Halli Williams reflects on who and what led her to BYU

“I never thought I would swim at BYU,” freshman sprinter Halli Williams said. Williams developed her love for the feel of the water when she was thrown into a neighborhood summer league at the age of five.

She took a break from the swimming world during her middle school years to pursue other sports, but was reminded of her love for the pool as she dove back into year-round swimming in high school. She swam on the varsity team all four years.

Williams was born into a family of athletes, with her mom running track for the University of Utah and her dad playing basketball for Utah State. Being a collegiate athlete was always on the radar for Williams.

“A lot of the time, he was the reason I would go to practice,” Williams said, referring to her dad. “He told me if you’re not at practice, there is someone else out there working harder than you and getting better. And I wanted to be the best.”

The Texas native talked primarily with coaches from California and Texas during her sophomore year of high school about recruiting opportunities, while BYU remained out of the picture.

As the summer before her junior year approached, Williams decided to attend a BYU swim and dive camp where former head coach John Brooks was highly impressed with the teen’s times. He offered her an official visit and a spot on the BYU team a few months later, and Williams couldn’t resist the offer.

“The team was so kind and the coaches were motivational,” Williams said. She expressed how the athletes, coaches and swimming culture at BYU were what really sealed the deal for her recruiting process.

Williams officially committed to BYU in the spring of her junior year, leaving plenty of time to quicken her times and perfect her technique before heading to Provo.

She finished up her high school career at Klein High School in Houston, Texas, where she was the 2021 Regional Champ in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle as well as a 2021 All-American in the 50-yard free.

With these achievements under her belt, Williams arrived on the BYU campus in the fall of 2021 and hit the ground running with two-a-day practices and weightlifting, all while juggling being a student-athlete.

“I’ve always wanted to be a D1 athlete,” Williams said. “It’s a dream for sure.”

In her short time on the BYU swim and dive team, Williams has already become a standout. During the Dixie Invitational in November, Williams won the B Final of the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 23:43. She also helped her relay team place third in the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:41:87.

As Williams continues to tackle her first year as a student-athlete, she keeps her focus on why she started swimming in the first place.

“When you are working so hard toward something, you kind of lose the reason why you started,” Williams said. “Remember your passion. Life doesn’t have to be so serious. That is what I try to live by.”

Williams, along with the rest of the swim and dive team, will compete this Friday and Saturday against Air Force starting at 10 a.m. in Provo at the Richards Building swimming pool.

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