Hannah Hamilton represents the Osage people across the state at every single swim meet she competes in. She will now represent her people across the country.
Hannah, 10, will be competing in the USA Swimming Central Zones Meet in Columbus, Ind., Aug. 2-6.
“I am excited and nervous because it is a big meet and I have never been to a meet out of state,” she said.
The meet is geared toward older kids but there is a small collection of kids asked to participate in the 14 and under.
“Hannah competed against 11 other teams in Oklahoma for a slot in the competition and she got it,” said Amanda Hamilton, Hannah’s mother and Osage tribal member.
Swim teams have to be at a competitive level and have times starting out at A to AAA, which is considered Olympic style to compete at the Central Zones Meet, added Hamilton.
“Hannah is an AA swimmer and there is very few in her age group that swim at that level,” she said.
Hannah began swimming when she was 4 years old at the YMCA when she lived in Vancouver, Wash.
“It was my idea to get her into swimming,” Hamilton said. “We lived in Washington State where it rains 90 percent of the time so I started her out with swimming lessons at age 2 and she liked the water.”
Hannah’s father is Brent Hamilton, her great-great grandparents are Jess Smith and Minnie Elkins Smith, her great-grandparents are Sam Polhamus and Teresa Francis Smith Polhamus, her grandmother is Immaculata Polhamus.
Three years ago, Hamilton joined a competitive swim team called the Chesapeake Swim Club in Oklahoma City.
“She really liked swimming and was getting bored at the YMCA so a coach recommended we join the Chesapeake Swim team,” Hamilton said.
Just like in Karate where skill level is measured by the color of ones’ belt, the Chesapeake Swim Club uses a color system. Swimmers begin at red, then move to blue, silver, gold and then senior development.
Hannah is a gold swimmer. For her age group, she is one of five 10 years olds out of 316 swimmers on the team.
Her best time in the 50-meter breaststroke is 44:06 seconds AA and her best time in the 100-meter breaststroke is 1:38:22 seconds AA.
“We are so proud of her,” Hamilton said. “Hannah works hard and swims 5 days a week for 2 hours a week, then an extra hour twice a week with a private coach.”
Hannah admits she is a very competitive person and wants to go to the Olympics some day.
“AA is the best for my age group and my goal now is to get AAA times in all my events, I think I can do it,” she said.
Hannah’s favorite strokes are the breaststroke and the butterfly.
“When we do relay’s my coach always has me swim the breaststroke because I have the best time for my age group,” Hannah said.
Hannah has an award wall at home where she puts all her ribbons and trophies. She is proud of all the awards she has won and she is certainly proud to be able to represent the Osage people.
“Represent who you are and go for it,” she said. “Be proud to be an Osage and a part of your tribe, be who you are and don’t change yourself.”