Fountain Valley High girls’ swimming coach Christine Locke has not been with the program as long as Hannah Farrow, but she has been around long enough to know that there are two sides to the senior standout.
Locke, who came on as an assistant in 2017, is now in her second year as the head coach. She praises the approachability of her star swimmer, saying that Farrow is always available to give advice to her teammates.
“She cares about her teammates,” Locke said. “She’s there for them. She’s there for the team. She wants to help everyone out. She has good sportsmanship, and she is very friendly.”
The opposition should not expect such welcoming accommodations.
“When she gets up on the block, her demeanor changes,” Locke added. “You can see that when she wants something, she goes after it.”
Over the course of her career, Farrow has been a part of three school records. Her latest entry came in the 100-meter breaststroke, a race that she is competing in more this year than she has at any other point.
Farrow shredded the water to post a time of one minute 2.70 seconds in the event at the Palm Springs Invitational on April 6.
The previous record had stood for 29 years. Michelle Ham swam the 100 breaststroke in 1:04.26 for the Barons in 1990.
Accomplishments from a team and individual standpoint display incremental progress for Farrow, as well as her Barons’ teammates. In her sophomore season, Fountain Valley won the Sunset League title.
As a junior, Farrow was a part of two school-record performances. She swam the backstroke leg on the 200 medley relay team that set the school standard of 1:46.01 in the Sunset League finals in 2018. The other members of the relay team were Abigail Nelson, Shayla Erickson and Sarah Hopkins.
Farrow sprinted to a time of 53.78 in the 100 butterfly in the same meet, adding an individual record for her efforts that day.
With Corona del Mar and Laguna Beach joining the Sunset Conference this season, the conference was split into two leagues. The Surf League, which is the top division, will hold its finals on Friday, April 26, at Golden West College.
Farrow grew up playing soccer along with swimming. She said that she was a late starter in club swimming, as she began swimming with Orange County Riptide Aquatics, which is based out of Ocean View High, at the age of 10.
In her freshman year, Farrow moved over to Novaquatics in Irvine. She credits the move with propelling her to faster times due to the competition in the pool.
“Having more competition in the pool and just the ability of setting higher goals because the people around you are setting those goals forces you to work harder and to push farther than you ever thought you would go,” Farrow said. “Now, I’m one of the top swimmers in our group, but there are still always people to race. Even the people that may have slower times than you, you’re expected to go faster than them, so they’re still pushing you in practice.”
Farrow does not play soccer anymore, but she is convinced that she made the right decision. She used to attend Fountain Valley swim meets when her sister, Katelyn, was at the school. She said that when she watched, she felt the urge to jump in the pool and race herself.
“Soccer was one of my things,” Farrow said. “It was hard to lose it all together, but I just felt like swimming was my passion because when I wasn’t doing it, I missed it.
“I missed the racing and the competitiveness of it.”
Farrow said that her competitive streak extends to family game night, or even bowling.
“I do not want to lose,” Farrow said. “I want to win that, too. My whole family is really competitive, so it’s just like the culture of our family.”
Asked what she would do if someone suggested a game of Monopoly be played with house rules in effect, Farrow said she would pull out the directions to make sure there were no deviations for the original set of rules.
After this season, Farrow will be swimming for the University of Arizona. The Wildcats will be getting a swimmer that is used to winning and will not be satisfied with anything less.
Born: Dec. 7, 2000
Hometown: Fountain Valley
Height: 5 feet 7
Weight: 130 pounds
Coach: Christine Locke
Favorite food: Salmon
Favorite movie: “The Longest Ride”
Favorite athletic moment: Fountain Valley won the Sunset League in Farrow’s sophomore season, which was the Barons’ first league title since 1997.