Our Incredible Hometown Swimmer


Will Barao strikes a pose for his teammates at the Manitou Incline in Colorado. (Photo courtesy of Colton Parkinson)

Liv Casey, Business Manager

Will Barao knew that he wanted to become a swimmer from a young age.

Currently a sixteen-year-old junior at Hingham High, Will is still able to recall the moment he knew for sure it was what he wanted to do. Will reminisces, “I was seven years old, and I was awake, staring at the TV at 11 PM on an August night in 2008. Michael Phelps had won his eighth and final gold medal of the Beijing Olympic games, surpassing Mark Spitz for the most gold medals ever won at a single game.”

Will sat, “star-struck,” staring at his television. As he watched Phelps accept his medal, Will said outloud in a room devoid of people other than himself, “I really want to try this swimming thing.”

After that fateful night, Barao sought out a swim team to join. As he remembers, he barely made his first team at all. Nevertheless, he was accepted, leading him to muse, “and so the commitment began.”

Now he reflects, “Fast forward ten years and countless hardships, successes, social sacrifices, and grueling hours in the pool later, I swim for the Bluefish Swim Club in Attleboro, Massachusetts.” Will adds without hesitation, “Yes, it is a long commute.”

Will’s coach is Chuck Batchelor, a well-known and respected coach in the swimming community. Under his guidance, Will “usually train[s] seven days a week, three and a half hours a day, and average[s] 10,000 yards of swimming per practice, on top of exhausting body weight workouts in dry land (a swimming term for exercise done outside of the pool) that are done before even beginning practice.”

One might ask why Barao would put himself through exhausting commutes and exhausting workouts, especially with needing to balance school work on top of it all. In Will’s mind this is answered quite simply, “since that night in 2008, my ultimate goal has not wavered. Tokyo 2020 is just around the corner.”

With Will’s clear determination, the Hingham High student body has no doubts about his future success. Hannah Leawack, a junior and a swimmer on the Hingham High team, remarks,  “A lot of athletes have to go through adversity to reach their goals. Will has clearly been through quite a lot for someone his age and despite everything he perseveres and if anything has become more motivated. He’s an inspiration to us all.” Elisabeth Heissner, also a junior, comments, “He’s had so many amazing feats at such a young age, it’s above admirable.”

It’s evident that the class of 2019 beyond supports Will and his efforts to reach the 2020 Olympics. His classmates are beyond excited to see him achieve more great things in the future. With his most recent accomplishment of making Olympic trials in the 400 meter freestyle, the 800 meter freestyle, and the 1500 meter freestyle, it doesn’t seem like his classmates have much of a wait.