Since then, Baykal has bounced back to become a leader on the team.
“She's a great worker in the pool,” Riggs said. “She's one of the happiest young ladies at every meet. She's always smiling and incredibly smart.”
That last part might be an understatement.
Baykal is a National Merit Semifinalist, has visited schools like Tufts, Yale, Georgetown and Vanderbilt, is planning to major in molecular biochemistry and physics and wants to go to medical school for orthopedic surgery.
“It's just always something I've been interested in,” she said. “I really like science and I've had some really good physics and chemistry teachers. I want to challenge myself.”
As for challenges, Baykal will get another later this month at the pro-am meet at Oklahoma City Community College.
“All of the kids will be rested and shaved there and should be able to put up good times,” Riggs said. “That'll give us a good barometer of where she is.”