Hageboeck: A leader in and out of the pool

In the midst of her already successful career swimming for Washington and Lee, Emily Hageboeck, ‘20, reflects on her sport

Photo courtesy of Generals Athletics

Photo courtesy of Generals Athletics

Tanner Smith

There are two Emily Hageboecks. There is the one that her friends know for wearing a little elephant necklace at all times, drinking a ton of apple juice and having every color Sharpie pen. Then there is the All-American swimmer who is serious about her craft and is able to push herself to physical and mental extremes in the pursuit of brilliance.

The accomplishments of Emily Hageboeck, ’20, in the pool are impressive, as she earned First Team All-American honors as a first-year in the 200 breaststroke, 200-medley relay and 400-medley relay last year.

After earning First Team ODAC honors last year, she was named ODAC Swimmer of the Week this year for the week ending Jan. 28.

In the eyes of her teammate and friend Annie Lentz, ’20, however, these accomplishments do not begin to define Hageboeck.

“I spend a lot of time with this budding superstar,” Lentz said, “and she is calculated to the T. She thinks through every decision way in advance, and has a mental plan for all of her responsibilities. On top of this, she has the biggest heart of anyone that I know.”

Head Coach Kami Gardner sees both Hageboecks on a daily basis, as she describes Hageboeck outside of the pool as “someone who likes to smile, have fun and joke” while she describes Hageboeck in the pool as a “fierce competitor.”

Gardner said she has seen Hageboeck develop and harness this intensity over her last year and a half at W&L.

“Last year she came in and had to make a lot of adjustments both in swimming and in school,” Gardner said. “She really kept her head down, did the work and was able not to put pressure on herself. Last year she got a taste of that national meet and came home as an All-American individually as well as on the relays and I think she really liked the idea of being one of the top players. She has upped her game tenfold in terms of her work ethic and in what she is doing outside of the pool in making the right decisions.”

Those “right” decisions for Hageboeck are not always easy, as she admits that it is hard to motivate herself to get into a freezing cold pool at five in the morning while her other friends are still asleep, but she has her sights set on the long-term ramifications of those decisions.

“I never swam in the morning in high school and it was definitely an adjustment having to swim in the morning,” Hageboeck said. “You kind of just have to do it. I am definitely going to bed earlier than all my friends do, but I am still getting plenty of sleep and you know, in the end, that all of those morning practices will pay off at our conference and national meets.”

Gardner has certainly seen Hageboeck’s work pay off, such as when she helped the team finish seventh overall at the NCAA championship last year, which was the highest finish in W&L history for either men or women. But Gardner said she is most impressed by Hageboeck’s process in attaining results.

“She is incredibly efficient with her stroke,” Gardner said. “A lot of times in a 200 breaststroke, swimmers will change their tempos, but Emily has really got hers down to a T. She is probably one of the toughest swimmers I have ever seen. She gets a mindset, has a goal and knows what she wants to do. She recognizes in the process of doing that she is really going to have to push herself beyond any physical or mental pain and she is able to do that.”

The Generals will next hit the pool at the ODAC Championships from Feb. 9 through Feb. 11 in Greensboro, N.C.