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New Hyde Park's Chan is LI Swimmer of the Year

Sewanhaka HS's Olivia Chan wins the 200 yard

Sewanhaka HS's Olivia Chan wins the 200 yard IM in a time of 2:04.16. (Nov. 5, 2011) Credit: Bob Mitchell

A year ago, Olivia Chan made it known that her major goals for the new year were to be accepted by an Ivy League school and to defend her state swimming titles in her two signature events.

So, in 2012, Chan was accepted to an Ivy League school, and she did successfully defended her two state titles.

The New Hyde Park senior, who competes for Sewanhaka District, committed to Princeton, and last month she won the 200-yard individual medley (2 minutes, 3.31 seconds) and 100-yard breaststroke (1:02.83) in the state championships in Ithaca -- her sixth and seventh career gold medals in state competition.

Chan is Newsday's Swimmer of the Year . . . for a third time.

Clearly, achieving objectives is nothing new for Chan. When she was 12, she began taping a list of goals to the wall in her room -- right next to the bed -- so each morning she would be reminded of the day's purpose.

"My first goal was to make the state team in seventh grade, then place in the state meet," she said. "Then it was to set records, and win a state event; then it was to win it 'x-number' of times. I'm not sure how many of them I wrote down, but I'm proud to say I've achieved most."

Chan picked up swimming at age 5 and started competing at 8, but admitted to being "terrible" early on. As a 9-year-old, motivated by failure, "I told myself it can't be like that anymore."

And so she trained constantly. In addition to focus, Chan's physical strength and endurance are what has set her apart, Sewanhaka coach Jim Hammill said.

Next up on her list of goals: winning an Ivy League championship at Princeton.

"She's on a mission," Hammill said. "She's going to be as successful as she can in whatever she chooses."

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