WILTON, Conn. — The butterfly didn’t come naturally to Wilton’s Rory Hess at age 7 when he began swimming competitively. But that didn’t stop him from mastering the stroke.
“Even though it was hard, I liked the thought of having a challenge,” said Rory, now 13. A star of the Wilton Y Wahoos, the butterfly is now his best stroke.
Rory’s efforts have earned him recognition as the No. 1 time in the nation for the YMCA 12 & Under boys in the 50-meter butterfly for 2015-16 season. He also holds the 13th fastest time for 2015-16 for 12 & Under boys 200 butterfly, according to USA Swimming rankings.
Rory has also shattered five Wahoo team records and was the highest Wahoo point-scorer at the Connecticut Age Group Championships.
Rory said he appreciates the rankings and recognition as a token of his training. “It feels fantastic to know that the hard work really paid off,” he said, adding that he plans to keep on improving his skills.
Wahoos Coach Alex Baxter described Rory as a humble athlete, who focuses on the sport and not the recognition.
“What impressed me the most coaching Rory this year was not the wins, the records or the fast swims, it was that he didn’t focus on those things,” Baxter said. “More than once he didn’t realize he’d broken a team record until a teammate told him.”
Baxter said Rory is also a hard-working swimmer, who is eager to learn and improve.
“He followed each race looking for feedback from his coach on where he could look to improve next and never once asked if he’d achieved another record or a best time,” Baxter said. “With this mindset and continued hard work, I hope to see many more fast swims from Rory in the future.”
Rory comes from a family of swimmers. His mother, Bernadette, swam in high school; and his little and older sisters also swim competitively.