SUGAR GROVE – Leah Hayes' personal swimming accomplishments are already nationally-recognized, but one national sports media outlet is taking it to the next level.
The Sugar Grove resident, who has Alopecia – a condition where her immune system mistakingly attacks her hair follicles, is one of the fastest and most decorated youth swimmers in the state. She was announced as the 2018 Sports Illustrated SportsKid of the Year earlier this month.
As the winner, Hayes will be on the cover of the December issue of SI Kids magazine. In addition, Hayes won a trip to New York City to be honored at the SI Sportsperson of the Year ceremony and a Sports Kid of the Year jacket, per SI Kids.
As of last April, Hayes holds six individual Illinois state championship meet records, five Illinois state records and one national age group record as a 12-year-old for short course pools.
In long course, she holds seven Illinois state and four NAG records for 10 and under. At 10, she broke the 200-yard individual medley NAG record set by eventual U.S. Olympic team captain, Elizabeth Beisel.
Hayes, who has future Olympic aspirations, was profiled by the Chronicle back in April, and you can read that story here.