By Martie Thompson
Eva Delaney just accomplished a rare feat — the 11-year-old sixth grader at Patriot Oaks Academy competed in 10 swimming and two track events at the AAU Junior Olympics in Greensboro, NC in July. The events were held at the campus of North Carolina A&T State University in venues used for some adult Olympic trials, a big step up from the smaller venues that Delaney had competed in while qualifying for her events.
She earned eight medals in swimming (butterfly and freestyle events) and posted personal best times in all her races. The very next day after the swimming competition concluded, Delaney ran a personal best in the 3,000 meters, placing sixth overall. A couple of days later, she ran another personal best in the 1,500 meters and placed eighth overall. She earned All-America honors in both events.
Locally, Delaney swims for Loggerhead Aquatics; she has been swimming since she was eight years old. She qualified for the AAU Junior Olympics based on her times throughout the year. Delaney runs in “open” track meets as she just started running this year. She found it to be a relatively easy transition from swimming. Delaney has two sisters, one of whom is her twin, and is the daughter of Pat and Deena Delaney. The family has lived in NW St. Johns County for nearly all of Eva’s life.
Q: What surprised you the most about competing at the AAU Junior Olympics?
A: I couldn’t believe how big the pool was and I was also surprised by how many people were in the stands at the track competition. Also, everyone I competed against was so fast!
Q: What was your favorite part about the competition?
A: I was excited to race against people from around the country. I made a lot of new friends, including a girl from Hawaii. It was fun to race at the Junior Olympics because I could really gauge where I was against these fast athletes. Especially in track, I wasn’t really expecting much since I had just started running, but I did better than I expected. I was nervous, but it was a great experience and I hope to go again next year.
Q: What was your proudest accomplishment at the Junior Olympics?
A: Earning All-America status in track. You have to finish in the top eight and it’s a big deal.
Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
A: I like to hang out with my friends and go to amusement parks. We just went to Universal, so that’s my favorite. I also have a cat named Cici and a guinea pig that I like to play with.
Photo courtesy Pat Delaney