Opelika swimmer Bradi Jones understood it would take an unwavering amount of dedication to make her dream of swimming at the next level come true. Earlier this week, Jones finally saw the fruits of her labors.
Jones announced her commitment to Arkansas on Monday. The rising senior made her decision after visiting the Razorbacks’ campus back in May.
“I knew Arkansas was right for me when I visited. The campus, atmosphere, team, and coaches just felt right. I prayed about it, and I just felt like that’s where God wanted me at,” Jones said. “It was definitely exciting for me, knowing that swimming at an SEC school has always been a dream of mine. It was also a relief because the process can be stressful sometimes.
“I’m thankful I have my coaches, family, and friends who helped me throughout it, and I’m just grateful that I am blessed with this opportunity.”
Jones, who will be a senior this fall, has been a standout swimmer for Opelika. She put together a strong performance at the AHSAA Swimming and Diving Championships in December, taking third place in the 100-yard breaststroke. She also swam a leg of the team’s 200 free style relay and helped the group take sixth.
Jones also took first place in the 100 and 200 breaststroke at the 2019 Southeastern Short Course Championships in Huntsville this February.
Jones said when she first set the goal of swimming collegiately that she understood the sacrifices it would take to make it happen. She pointed out that swimming is an everyday sport, which meant social events like hanging out with friends or going to the high school’s football games had to be put on the backburner.
Through it all, Jones kept pushing to make herself better. That determination didn’t go unnoticed, leading to this big moment with Arkansas.
Jones is hopeful this milestone in her swimming career can bring the sport to the attention of others in and around Opelika.
“It means the world to me to swim for Opelika and be coached by Tyler McGill. Although swimming is not a popular sport in my city, I’m grateful that I get this opportunity and can hopefully call attention to the sport for other kids in our city to maybe want to try one day,” Jones said. “I hope that I can set an example for the younger kids and let them see that they can also achieve great things in the sport.”
Jones is gearing up for her senior season swimming for Opelika. She said her goal is to finally win a state championship, but even if that doesn’t happen she’s excited to make more memories with her teammates. She said the relationships with the other team members are special, and she’s expecting a special season for them all.
Jones’ dream came true this week, but not before she committed countless hours to her sport. Despite the things she had to give up to make it happen, her plan to become a Razorback has left her delighted.
“It was all worth it in the end,” Jones said.