Former Marauder Swimmer Enjoying Life as a Florida State Seminole

 

By Steve Sears

Brennan Hammond was introduced to swimming at the age of three, and for the next 10 years his love of the sport enabled him to make a key decision.

“I started swim lessons when I was three at the Berkeley Aquatic Club program in New Providence, and ever since then, I just loved being in the water,” Hammond says. “There’s just something about it that I find so peaceful and, at the same time, just so relaxing. I did a bunch of other sports growing up, but swimming was always that one special thing. Around seventh grade, I decided I wasn’t going to do all these other sports; I was just going to focus on swimming.” His decision coincided with him setting a national 13 – 14 age group record. “That was a big deal for me, and it kind of influenced my decision. After that happened, I moved up to the highest-level group in my club.”

Hammond, now 21, currently swims for Florida State University. He transferred to FSU after spending his freshman and sophomore years at Indian River State College in Fort Pierce, Florida.

Time and distance constraints made it challenging when he was a Flanders youngster to make the Berkeley Aquatic Club practices, but he had help. “I had to work with the middle school, because the school day would end too late for me to make practice,” Hammond recalls. “After sitting down and meeting with the principal, we came to an agreement, and I was able to leave a class period early every day so I could make it to practice, which was very nice of them. And then once I was in high school, I’d get up at 4:30 a.m. just so I could make it to morning practice, and then from morning practice go straight to school, go through the school day, and right after school, I’d get on a train to go to practice again. I wouldn’t be back until 8:30, sometimes 9:00 at night. It was really busy, but it was really rewarding.”

While a Mount Olive Marauder, Hammond was a Garden State record holder, and was a 200 Fly USA Swimming Top 100 Age Group Award recipient.

His next stop was Indian River State College, where he had a great two years. “Indian River has the longest national title win streak in collegiate sports history, which is pretty cool,” he says. “I was part of the 46th and 47th consecutive national championship for Indian River in the NJCAA, which is the National Junior College Athletic Association, and that was really fun.” Hammond was a 200 Fly champion (1:47.82) and relay title winner at that 2020 meet, and in his sophomore year, won two gold medals at the 2021 NJCAA Championships in the 100 Fly (48.79) and 200 Fly (1:47.03), and three more relay titles. 

While enjoying the before mentioned success, Hammond began reaching out to bigger schools to swim for, and selected Tallahassee’s Florida State University, where he just completed his season as a junior transfer. “My whole family is from Florida, and my extended family all went to Florida State, so I kind of knew a little bit about it growing up in a Florida State household,” Hammond says with a slight laugh. “And it just meant a lot to me to even talk to them, let alone have the opportunity to swim here and kind of carry on the tradition of being a Seminole.” After bouts with COVID-19 in late 2021 and the flu early this year, Hammond recovered and had a stellar season, setting personal best times in the 100 Fly (48.02) and the 200 Fly (1:46.41). 

Hammond’s success is attributed to his goal of always improving his efforts. “Every time I get in the pool, whether it be practices in the morning, a big competition, or anything like that, I’m always trying different things, trying to find that next boundary for myself, whether it be seeing how hard I can push myself, how long I can push myself for, and really just focusing on all the little things with just a lot of attentiveness. Just trying to be better than the next guy, really. Whenever I get in the water, everything else in the world goes away. My mind, it’s there in that moment, just focusing on, ‘How do I get to the next level?’”

That next level for Hammond is a hoped-for NCAA championship invitation, and a possible Olympic Games trip. “Fortunately, my swimming career lines up ideally for the Olympic trials in 2024,” he says, “and I’d like to get to a place where I’d be going to the Olympic trials and, potentially, having a shot or getting as close as I possibly can to the Olympic dream.”

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