A Day In the Life: Hailey Swirbul

A Day in the Life: APUNSC is checking in with Elite Team members of the course of the next few months to get a glimpse into what life looks like for elite athletes as training starts up again during a global pandemic.

Today we check in with Hailey Swirbul (21), a silver and bronze medalist from the 2018 World Junior Championships and three time National Champion. Hailey hails from El Jebel, CO and has now been a member of the APUNSC elite team for 2 years. She is working on her degree in civil engineering from University of Alaska Anchorage.

Where are you right now? What have the restrictions been? Are they now changing?

I am in Anchorage, Alaska. Restrictions have mostly been lifted for Covid here with businesses reopening. People are still required to quarantine upon entering the state, but otherwise social distancing is still in place. 

How did your season end?  Were there any race cancellations that affected your season?

My last races were in Oberwiesenthal Germany at U23 World Championships. I had traveled to Quebec for the North American sprint tour where the rest of the races got cancelled for the season (Quebec, Minneapolis, and Canmore). 

Racing at U23 World Championships

What is a highlight of the ski season you did have?

My highlight was scoring my first World Cup point in Davos, SUI, and scoring WC points in all types of races- classic & skate, sprint & distance. I also like learning what life on the road is like on the World Cup. 

How have you planned around the unexpected end to the season? Did you do anything to “finish” out the season or jump into summer training early?

I kind of let the season end when the world decided to end it. I jumped into my Alaskan spring of backcountry skiing, Nordic skiing and playing outside. I didn’t stress about training extra just because the season ended, but probably trained more than I would have just by being outside so much.

Making do with a shortened season by getting in some good backcountry adventures

What activities are you doing to keep yourself busy outside of training?

I have been very busy with a part time engineering research job, fishing and cooking new things!

Baking delicious treats in my free time. Photo: Hailey Swirbul

What did your workout look like today?

My workout today was a 3 hour skate roller ski OD with my teammate Rosie and a short 50 minute mountain bike ride with the dog in the afternoon

Enjoying being able to train with teammates

Do you have any indoor/at home workouts you are doing?

I have reallyyyy been struggling to motivate for at home strength sessions without a good gym set up. But when I’ve got to get it done, I’ve been doing squats holding the dog, dips on the side of the couch, and I’ve found a great pull up bar branch of a tree! 

Without knowing what the future has in store, has it been challenging to keep up motivation to train? Where are you getting that motivation? What motivates you to keep training?

It can be tough to motivate for me to train sometimes, but that lack of motivation mostly stems from my schedule with my new job. Ive always liked the structure of training, and that aspect hasn’t changed for me. I’m treating this year as a normal build up to winter and assuming races will go on as planned. 

How are you keeping in touch with friends/family/teammates?

I see teammates at outdoor training sessions, and try to FaceTime my family or friend when I can! 

What has been your biggest challenge in relation to Covid-19 and how are you tackling it?

My biggest challenge has been keeping my mental health in a good place and keeping structure in my life. It has been difficult for me to get little things done without a strict deadline or meeting time, etc. so I let those things pile up.

What are your plans from here? What things do you have in store for a summer that will include many restrictions?

I’m going to keep training as normally as possible and get outside as often as I can! I think fishing, camping and hiking are great things to do with my quaran-team! I might not be able to leave the state as I had planned, but AK isn’t a bad place to be stuck 🙂 

Enjoying vacations close to home Photo: Hailey Swirbul

Do you have any helpful advice in dealing with the changing times?

It’s okay to not be okay during these crazy times. Be patient with yourself.