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Joseph Haynsworth

Joseph Haynsworth ()

Joseph Haynsworth is basking in the glow of a triumphant final season in the European Forces Swim League the only way he knows how — by getting back in the pool.

“I want to keep swimming,” the Hohenfels High School senior said recently after completing his season as the best American male 17- to-19-year-old swimmer in Europe.

“It’s what I’ve been practicing most of my life. It’s what I do.”

Haynsworth, 18, won the maximum three individual gold medals at last month’s EFSL championships at the Munich Olympic pool.

He took the 100-meter backstroke in 1 minute 11.37 seconds, the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:19.42 and his favorite event, the 200-meter individual medley in 2:31.97.

Haynsworth also won his age group’s EFSL pentathlon title, awarded to the swimmer who posts the fastest combined time in each of the league’s five events over the course of the entire September-to-February season.

Haynsworth’s 2002-2003 personal season-best times of 59.65 in the 100-meter freestyle, 2:28.81 in the 200 individual medley, 1:10.22 in the 100 backstroke, 1:16.57 in the 100 breaststroke, and 1:09.09 in the 100 butterfly totaled 7:04.34, more than seven seconds faster than runner-up Tom Walker of the SHAPE Seals.

His EFSL swan song wasn’t the last lap for Haynsworth, who plans to attend either the Coast Guard Academy, to which he has already been appointed, or the Citadel this fall. He is training for future feats with a German club, AV Neumarkt, that helped him prepare for his EFSL titles.

“During the EFSL regular season, Joseph swims about 3,000 meters on Mondays with the Hohenfels Hurricanes. Then, he swims 5,000-6,000 meters per day with AV Neumarkt on Wednesday through Sunday,” his mother, Nancy, said.

The longer distance required by his club suits Haynsworth just fine.

“In the EFSL, the longest race is 200 meters, but my favorite event is the 1,500 freestyle,” he said. “It takes a lot of endurance.”

In addition to his miles in the water, Haynsworth does dry-land weight training and runs three times a week, yet still finds time to help the younger swimmers on the team and volunteer with the Red Cross, according to Hohenfels coach Beth Hoeh.

Hoeh said Haynsworth excels at all four competitive strokes because he’s adept at transforming theory into practice

“Joseph is capable of putting into action the directions of the coach,” Hoeh said. “He has a keen kinesthetic sense. That and his self-discipline is where he sets himself apart from other athletes.”

Although his success has set him apart from most of the league’s swimmers, Haynsworth could be speaking for all of them when he extols the virtues of his sport.

“Swimming takes a lot of dedication,” he said. “It teaches you to persevere.”

Haynsworth did just that during an EFSL career that saw him swim three seasons for SHAPE, two for the Bamberg Aqua Barons and the final two with Hohenfels. He crowned it all with his final peformance in the same pool where Mark Spitz won a record seven gold medals in the 1972 Olympics.

There is no reason to believe those good times are over.

“The last few years I’ve gone below my goal times each time,” he said. “Each year has been better than the last.”

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