Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

17-time All-American Olivia Bray Prepares for Final Season at Texas

Joy Li
Senior Olivia Bray swims in a meet against Texas A&M on Oct. 21, 2022.

It’s been 192 days since the University of Texas women’s swim and dive team earned themselves national runner-up in the NCAA championships, the team’s second consecutive year claiming the second spot on the podium. 

It was a bittersweet moment for the Longhorns, establishing themselves as a dominant force within the NCAA, yet falling just short of their ultimate goal. It’s especially bittersweet for one of the team’s most awarded swimmers, senior Oliva Bray. 

Since her freshman year with the Longhorns, Bray has garnered a long list of accolades. She is a 17-time All-American, 18-time Big-12 Champion (six-time individual champion) and broke or contributed to seven records in her junior season alone.

Now a senior, Bray has become a leader on the team. For her, there are only a few paths to success and the one she hopes to take involves her entire team.  Prone to avoid confrontation in the past, she now ignites a fire that she hopes she can use to motivate both her teammates and herself. 

“It’s a lot, feeling the pressure of taking on that leadership role,” Bray said. “I just want to help give them as much guidance and support as they want and need.”

One of the greatest ways Bray sees her team winning the national championship is through team bonding. With over 30 swimmers on the team, Bray feels getting her teammates to connect with each other is an important goal. 

“I am very vocal about … it’s brave to ask for help and support. I try to take on that momma bear sense,” Bray said “I’m not one to call people out, but I will smack talk you to bring you with me.” 

For Bray and the team, little wins lead to the big ones. Bray’s goals for the team and herself are seen as a necessity; winning a championship is an overwhelming task and they seek to climb the ladder one rung at a time. 

“We have dual meet goals, we have midseason invite goals … and we set out a plan,” Bray said. “We have a lot of athlete-led activities where I think it really helps (the team) stay connected.”

The clock is ticking on Bray’s time with the team. Though she has already accomplished so much, she thinks there is still more possible. 

“All I do is eat, sleep, study, swim,” Bray said enthusiastically. 

Bray also dreams of a chance to compete in the Olympics in 2024 and 2028. In 2021, Bray finished seventh in the Olympic trials. Only the top two in each event can advance to the Olympic team.

“I’m definitely swimming through next Olympic Trials,” Bray said. “(I) would love to make an Olympic team, I would probably die after that.” 

There is a life outside of Texas swimming that she considers as well. 

“I’m hoping to go into medical sales device in the operating room,” Bray said about post grad plans. “I have fallen in love with the healthcare field and surgery and all of those aspects.”

For now, Bray remains focused on her personal and team’s goal for a national championship, contributing by taking on a larger role she had previously been hesitant to take.

“I would love to win a national championship, it’s been a dream of mine to win an individual one,” said Bray. “I want to bring the most passion and energy and give it off to people. I want to continue pushing people to be their absolute best.”

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About the Contributor
Joy Li, Senior Photographer
Joy Li is a freshman business major from Houston, Texas and serves as a Senior Photographer.