Senior swim team captain streamlines her way to college


Emma Gnidziejko

Senior Ana Hernandez performs at the 5A state meet last year. Hernandez signed to swim at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin Wednesday, Feb. 6. “Coach Milne has helped me become a better swimmer because I used to be really stubborn and not able to change, but she has taught me it’s better to change,” Hernandez-Flores said. “And I have (changed) not only as a swimmer, but as a person.”

Senior swimmer Ana Hernandez-Flores turned her emotional outlet in the pool into a ticket to college.

She signed to compete for the University of Texas of the Permian Basin on Feb. 6. After three years of high school swim, she plans to perform at the college level next year.

“UTPB is pretty good because it’s a really small school,” Hernandez-Flores said. “There’s a lot of college activities to do. It’s very welcoming like a family so you’ll feel like you fit right in.”

After graduating high school, she’s trading her eagle mascot for a falcon.

“Ana has been on the team for the past three years,” coach Sarah Milne said. “She came the first year I was here as well. She’s been on the varsity team for the past three years and two of those years she made it out to state.”

UTPB’s men and women’s swim teams were named Scholar All-America teams for the 2018 Fall semester.

“She’s been first team all-district and first team all-region,” Milne said. “She’s team captain, and her leadership this year was especially beyond the expectations that I had set. She really was great with making sure all the girls came together as one.”

Milne said that she has that overall, all-around type of character that makes Hernandez-Flores so personable to her team.

“She’s always a cheerful person,” senior Melanie Johnson said. “She sees the best in things and views things so positively. She makes you have a positive outlook on your life.”

Hernandez-Flores is the team captain of the girls’ swim team.

“Whenever I’m stressed out or having a bad day, swimming is like my outlet,” Hernandez-Flores said. “It expresses my anger and stress, so it’s very therapeutic.”

Hernandez-Flores said she’s been training hard and lowering her best times to prepare for college.

“She did a whole lot of things to make everyone feel included, which is what you want to see in a leader,” Milne said. “She’s one of those athletes that work hard in the pool and in academics. She works hard to make sure everyone is included to the best of her ability.”

Johnson said she never sees Hernandez-Flores without a smile on her face and is always there to support her teammates.

“I hope her leadership skills continue to grow,” Milne said. “She’ll be a freshman in college but I hope she will still be able to lead, regardless of her age.”

She signed for her college in the arena, along with 13 other seniors.

“Swim has helped me in life because it has kept me active,” Hernandez-Flores said. “It gives me something to work towards. It teaches me discipline, hard work, and punctuality, which are very important not only in school, but in the real world.”