Senior swimmer Hannah Stevens poised for greatest season yet

Stevens looks to build upon a successful summer overseas.
Courtesy of Mizzou Athletics

Qualifying for the FINA World Championships, earning three medals at the World University Games and being named to the swimming 2017-18 USA National Team, Missouri senior Hannah Stevens had a pretty memorable summer. But if you ask her about it, you won’t hear much about the hardware.

“I think this summer I learned a lot,” Stevens said. “Going into the World Championships in Budapest, I was kind of wide eyed, not really knowing what to expect … It helps me realize what other things I can do to start preparing [better].”

Stevens credits her recent success to years of hard work and family influences.

“My dad swam a little bit in college … and he got us into the sport,” Stevens said. “I saw my [older] brother and sister, grew up seeing [them swim] and kind of just fell right into it.”

Going into her freshman year of high school, Stevens began swimming the 100-yard backstroke, an event in which she would find great success throughout high school. Stevens finished her high school career with four individual state titles, two of these in the 100-yard backstroke, and the Ohio state record time of 53.87 in the same event.

When it came to making a college decision, Stevens chose Missouri over others because of the chemistry among coaches on the swim and dive team and the campus.

“The coaches — I’m very biased, but I don’t think you could find a better coaching staff in the country that meshes as well as they do,” Stevens said. “And there’s the campus. I think the campus is actually one of the most beautiful campuses in the country; I just fell in love with it.”

Stevens’ first three years at Mizzou saw her improve upon her times in multiple events, shaving over a second off of her 100- and 200-meter backstroke times. Additionally, Stevens swam season-best times in the 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle, 100 backstroke and 200 backstroke her junior year.

Looking ahead to the regular season, Stevens believes Mizzou can compete with the best programs in the country.

“I think we’re looking great,” Stevens said. “We’re hoping for some pretty big things this year: top three SEC. We want to definitely try as hard as we can. We’ve always been so close to top 10 at NCAAs.”

As for herself, Stevens has high hopes for her senior year, with the first regular season meet against South Carolina and Arkansas just 11 days away.

“Individually, I just want to see how far I can go,” Stevens said. “Coming into college, I never would have guessed I’d be in the position I am now. It’s kind of exciting going in to see what will happen.”

Mizzou swim and dive head coach Greg Rhodenbaugh hopes Stevens further improves her skills and technique in the upcoming season.

“[She has] been a great, great swimmer for us, one of the fastest swimmers in multiple events,” Rhodenbaugh said. “I would hope that her senior year is just one more step. She’s doing a great job already but just taking a step forward like seniors do.”

After a successful summer overseas, Stevens has stepped firmly into the spotlight, ready to kick-start her senior year campaign.

“[Stevens is] a great swimmer, but she’s got more she can do,” Rhodenbaugh said. “I think she knows that.”

Edited by Joe Noser |

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