Boardman’s Bailey heading to Naval Academy
It’s the way Ryan Bailey lives his life.
It’s the way the Boardman senior wants to continue his collegiate career.
Bailey, who carries a 4.0 GPA, has been accepted into the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.
“I realize I live my life, not as strickly to the (United States) Naval Academy lifestyle, where I have my set routine,” Bailey said. “I know that works for me. I think the Naval Academy is the best place to allow me to keep that schedule and strict routine.”
The Midshipmen’s swim coach Bill Roberts sent a letter to Bailey his sophomore year when he started his string of success at the state swim meet in Canton.
Bailey, who will go into submarine or surface warfare in Annapolis, finished third in the 100-yard butterfly and eighth 100 breaststroke.
The time Bailey swam in the Division I preliminaries was 49.28 seconds, which would’ve won him the state championship as a junior. Unfortunately, he couldn’t replicate that time in finals.
“That following Monday, he was back in the water – doing what he thought would be five-tenths of a second or the second faster that he needs to get in order to be a state champion,” Boardman coach Terry O’Halloran said. “He has done everything right he needs to do in terms of his training.”
Bailey had recommendations from Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio and U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta. Only one of the two were needed, along with some sponsorship from coaches and teachers.
Bailey knew he had the physical tools to be a Navy man.
“It’s a pretty long process and it was a rigorous process to get into the academy,” Bailey said. “The swimming and dry land I have done has helped me to this point. There’s still a lot I need to work on.”
This season, it starts with the 100 butterfly.
“Cleaning up my turns a little bit, that’s my big focus,” Bailey said. “My general mentality compared from this year to last year is worrying about what I’m doing and not what the competition is doing. Ultimately, I can’t control what they’re doing.
“Last year, I paid a lot of attention to what other guys in the state were doing in their races. This year, I haven’t followed anybody’s season except for mine.”
As for the 100 breatstroke, his best time is 58.17. Bailey took eighth last year in this event, vaulting eight places from his sophomore season.
He knows to become the state’s best, he’ll have to drop at least three more seconds.
“My goal is go faster than that (58.17),” Bailey said. “As far as placewise, I’d like to see improvement from my sophomore year to my junior year. I went up eight places. I’d like to see a little improvement in place.
“A lot of the top eight guys from last year were seniors and won’t be there. You always have to worry about the underclassmen come up. Shoot a little higher than top eight.”
O’Halloran said Bailey has made all the necessary preparation for his trek to state, which begins next weekend at the Division I sectionals at the University of Akron.
“The only thing we can’t control is who comes up, whose coming up and who is competition is going to be,” O’Halloran said. “We can’t control how hard they work. In my own mind, there’s nothing Ryan hasn’t done to this point that he hasn’t done correctly in terms of the goals. We can’t control the outside forces. Everything in his grasp, he has totally committed himself.”
Bailey chose to be part of the Navy, even leaving behind a childhood favorite.
“I took my visit to Ohio State and I really liked it,” he said. “I’ve been a Buckeye my entire life. I realize the Naval Academy will give me a better opportunity to succeed after college than Ohio State would.”
He’ll have a five-year committment to the Navy after graduation and has the option to stay after that manditory time has elapsed.
“The country is investing in me and hoping I’d stay those five years,” Bailey said. “I’m definitely considering staying and leaning toward staying longer than the five years.