Speed Reads

it wasn't all bad

Community puts on surprise parade to celebrate teen Olympic hopeful

To celebrate Tess Howley making the Olympic swimming trials, her friends, teammates, coaches, neighbors, and classmates put on a parade to rival any opening ceremony.

Howley, 16, of Rockaway, New York, has been swimming for the last 13 years, and qualified for the trials in Omaha. She was one of the youngest competitors, and swam the 100m butterfly, 200m butterfly, and 200m freestyle. While she didn't qualify for the Tokyo Games, she did beat some of her personal best times, and that made her "pretty happy," she told The Rockaway Times.

Howley is known in Rockaway for her dedication to swimming, as well as her good sportsmanship and ability to lift up her fellow swimmers at the Long Island Aquatic Club. That's why some of her former coaches decided to throw a surprise parade in her honor on Monday, with supporters putting on red, white, and blue, and marching past her house, cheering and playing the Olympics theme. 

Gen Shaw, whose daughter is one of Howley's teammates, told The Rockaway Times that Howley "got out there and gave it her all, so we wanted to let her know we're all proud of her." Howley was shocked by the parade, and said, "I feel so special." She's now looking ahead to the 2024 Summer Olympics — giving her community plenty of time to plan their next celebration.