Lakewood Ranch High senior Danielle Valley captured her second-consecutive state title in the 500-yard freestyle Nov. 8, at the Class 2A Swimming and Diving Championships, at the Central Florida YMCA Aquatic Center in Orlando. Valley finished in 4:40.97. She also finished as the state runner-up in the 200 freestyle (1:48.97).
What does it mean to you to be a two-time defending state champion in the 500 freestyle?
Being a two-time defending state champion in the 500 freestyle means a lot to me. It encourages and keeps me motivated. It is also great to be able to represent my school.
Did you feel any additional motivation after finishing as the state runner-up in the 200?
After the 200, I was more motivated to come back and swim with more determination than before.
Of all of the events that you swim, which is your favorite?
The 500 freestyle is probably my favorite event, because it isn’t quite an all-out sprint but it isn’t too long, either.
What is your fondest swimming moment?
Swimming at the finals at Olympic trials really gave me an experience I will never forget. I had the chance to race the best competition in the country.
What are your plans for next year?
Next year I will be attending the University of Florida and swimming there as well.
Who is your biggest role model?
There are lots of people who I look up to, such as my coaches, parents and teammates.
What is your favorite Thanksgiving food?
My favorite Thanksgiving food would have to be rolls.
What is your favorite holiday?
My favorite holiday is the Fourth of July. I (enjoy) dressing all patriotic, lighting off fireworks and being with my family.
What do you like to do when you aren’t swimming?
When I’m not swimming I enjoy baking and being outdoors.
If you could play another sport for a day just for the fun of it, what would it be?
I would either want to try ice skating or dancing.