“In the distance events, nobody can push her. Not even the boys,” Milligan swim coach Kelly Chism-Essler said.
Halloran, from Lexington, S.C., was a highly-touted recruit looked at by several NCAA Division I schools coming out of high school. The question begs — how did she end up at an NAIA school like Milligan?
“My dad e-mailed coach one day,” Halloran said. “I was really wanting to go to a small, Christian college. Milligan was was like the third or fourth school I went on a recruiting trip and I instantly fell in love.”
Halloran says that she got into swimming at a young age when her brother, Frank, was getting a lot of recognition for being an outstanding swimmer.
“When I was six or seven, my brother was getting all these ribbons in meets and I said to my parents that I wanted to get some ribbons, too,” Halloran said.
From the first day of swim practice, Halloran has been the center of focus. When she practiced for the first time with the boys, she said that she led them.
“It definitely tired me out,” she said. “I was pushed though and I don’t get that very often.”
Halloran is primarily a distance swimmer for the Buffs and has set several marks that have shattered school records by minutes and have landed amongst the best swimmers in NAIA.
In the 1-mile swim, Halloran is tops in the nation, clocking a 18:00.98.
For comparison, the NCAA Division II and Division III provisional standards for the women’s mile swim is just over 17:33. Halloran says she has not even been tapering for her best events, so her times will likely improve once she is rested later in the season.
Halloran also has met national cuts in the 200-yard freestyle, 500-yard freestyle, 100-yard backstroke and the 400-yard individual medley.
Every national cut that she has made has been a program record, with the exception of the 400 IM. She is only about a second off of that record, though.
“I honestly did not think we would get someone of this caliber at Milligan so quickly,” Chism-Essler said. “When her dad e-mailed me a list of her times, I couldn’t believe it. It has been quite a learning experience to adjust my coaching style to her. It’s been a blessing, though.”
The Buffs will be back in action on Jan. 13 at Emory & Henry.