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YMCA swimmer going to state championship
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Hyeon Lee (center) stands with her father Mangu Lee and swim coach Catherine Smith. The 10-year-old is ranked eighth in the 50-meter backstroke, 11th in the 100-meter freestyle and 12th in the 500-meter freestyle. - photo by Phgoto by Patty Leon
By Patty Leon
Coastal Courier (Hinesville, GA) Staff Writer

Hinesville’s Hyeon Lee will swim at the USA Swimming State Championship this weekend Feb. 16-18 at the Chatham County Aquatic Center.
As a state sanctioned event she will compete against the best swimmers in Georgia in her age group, 14 and under. Lee, just 10, is already ranked within the top 20, in some cases ranked in the top 12th in the state.
Liberty County/Armed Services Family YMCA swim coach Catherine Smith is impressed with Lee’s abilities and current rankings.
“She is top 20 in just about everything and she is just phenomenal,” Smith said.
In the stands watching his daughter swim her laps was Lee’s father Mangu Lee. The Lee’s moved to Hinesville from Korea about five years ago.
Smith said the inspiration behind the younger Lee is her father. He taught himself to swim as a child in Korea, and taught his three children how to swim. Just like a football coach studying an opponents defensive, he would take a video camera to some of the swim meets and film the fastest and best swimmers. Later he would show the films to his children and teach them the basics of the strokes and kicks to help them improve their performance.
It is apparent that the younger Lee was a quick study. She is reserved and quiet, but kept focused on the task at hand and was the first person at practice on Monday. She is also qualified in the regional competitions.
The Liberty County/Armed Services Family YMCA has a year-round swimming program and encourages anyone who can swim to try out for the team. Currently the ages range from 5 to 14. The swim team meets Monday through Thursday from 5 to 6 p.m. at the YMCA pool. Anyone interested in trying out can call Smith at the YMCA at 368-9622.
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