Hus rule the pool
By JIM WALLER
Whidbey News Times Sports editor
August 1, 2011 · 7:51 AM
“Hu’s in the pool?”
That line doesn’t quite have the same ring as Abbott and Costello’s iconic “Who’s on first?,” but the answer to both queries is the same, “Yes.”
If you are looking for siblings John, Price or Ciara Hu, check the nearest swimming pool.
The trio represents the most accomplished kin to swim for the North Whidbey Aquatic Club and Oak Harbor High School.
John, 20, will be a junior at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J., next fall and has continued his record-setting ways for the Ducks.
Price, 18, will join John at Stevens as a freshman this fall, and Ciara, 17, is about to enter her senior year at Oak Harbor High School.
This past weekend the three are battling the region’s top swimmers at the Pacific Northwest Swim championships in Federal Way, then the competition ramps up as each heads to a prestigious national event.
John goes to the national championships in Palo Alto Aug. 2 through 6 in an attempt to qualify for the Olympic trials.
Price travels to the junior nationals in Palo Alto Aug. 8 to 13 and is attempting to qualify for the next open national championship meet.
Ciara takes part in the North American Challenge Cup in Guadalajara, Mexico, Aug. 3 to 6 and is hoping to qualify for junior nationals.
NWAC coach Neil Romney said, “All three have distinguished themselves by their consistency of practice attendance and effort and their physical and emotional resiliency.”
This year John was named his collegiate conference’s Swimmer of the Year with school records and top-six finishes in three events at the NCAA Division III championships.
He placed fifth in the 400-yard individual medley (3:55.21), sixth in the 200 IM (1:50.72) and sixth in the 200-yard butterfly (1:48.90). He was also a member of 800-yard freestyle relay team that finished 14th.
In all, he earned all-American honors in three events and honorable mention in another.
John holds Stevens’ records in five individual events and two relays.
In high school, John qualified for the Washington state meet all four years. He won the 200 IM his junior season and posted automatic qualifying times for all the individual events his senior year.
Price also qualified for state all four years and finished in the top 16 six times, led by a ninth in the 100 butterfly in 2010.
Ciara has reached state three times, earning a sixth in the 200 IM and a seventh in the 100 butterfly last fall.
The three hold an incredible 46 North Whidbey Aquatic Club records -- and that doesn’t include relays.
Their father, Dr. Benjamin Hu, credits his children’s athleticism to their mother. He said, “I was a violin-toting nerd in school.”
Dr. Hu said his family enjoyed boating when the children where young and thought it would be a good idea to get them involved in swimming: “That way they could save me if we had problems.”
The three children started swimming around the third grade, and it wasn’t love at first splash.
Ciara said, “I absolutely hated it.”
Price added, “I was coerced into it.”
John said, “Over time we became comfortable with it...you enjoy things you are good at.”
The three dabbled in other sports as youngsters, but eventually focused on swimming. Ciara is still involved in ballet but recently cut out gymnastics.
They all said they enjoy swimming for teams but like the individual aspect of the sport.
Price said, “You do not have to rely on others to do the work.”
The sport has also provided more than records.
Ciara said, “Swimming has taught me about hard work, team work and leadership.”
John added that swimming’s demanding training schedule has taught them time management.
None of the three regret the long hours in the pool, and they do not believe that swimming has robbed them of a social life.
Ciara said, “Swimming actually provides a social life. All my best friends are on the team.”
Swimming also hasn’t robbed the Hus of succeeding in other areas.
Romney said the three are successful in all areas of their lives “despite having schedules that would make most people crumble.”
All are accomplished musicians, and John plays the sax in Stevens’ jazz band. John and Price recently picked up the accordion after a trip to Leavenworth.
All are stellar students. John and Price finished high school with 4.0 GPAs, and Ciara is keeping pace with a perfect mark through three years.
John has “slipped” to a 3.8 at Stevens while studying chemical engineering. Price hopes to major in mechanical engineering.
“No way” is Ciara joining the boys at Stevens. She is leaning toward California’s Claremont-McKenna and possibly studying accounting.
“Hu’s in the pool?” Yes, and in the record book, on the honor roll, in the band...Contact Whidbey News Times Sports editor Jim Waller at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-675-6611 ext. 5060.