Welcome to 5 in 10, a series of 5 questions in 10 minutes "For Women Who LEAD." Our first 5:10 For Women Who LEAD features professional athlete and all-around tough chick, Haley Chura. After suffering a brutal broken leg injury from a head-on car/bike crash, Haley stormed back to win the IronMan Coeur d’Alene, Idaho in June 2017.
We have 5 questions for Haley to find out a little more about what/who inspires her and what drives her to become a champion.
1. KLJ: What did you aspire to be when you were younger?
HC: When I was younger, the very first thing I wanted to be was a paleontologist to study dinosaurs. I grew up in Montana and dinosaurs were a big thing there - don’t all little kids have an appreciation for that stuff??
KLJ: You actually became a CPA for a while.
HC: Yes! I was an accountant which was my slightly older aspiration, and I actually did that and it was a good job.
KLJ: And now you’re a professional athlete?
HC: Yeah! Life doesn’t always turn out how you expect.
2. KLJ: What would you tell your younger self about your life now?
HC: I think I would just say learn as much as you can and appreciate every moment that you’re in because things WILL change. Appreciate the phase you’re in; appreciate being a kid swimming, being a high school swimmer, being a college swimmer, being in your early 20’s and swimming masters etc. Just appreciate each step because it changes so much and nothing will ever stay the same. Be present.
3. KLJ: What brings out your confidence when you’re feeling low?
HC: I did struggle with confidence issues a LOT in the earlier part of my swimming career, and even through college. I think I get confidence now from experience, from knowing that I’ve been in this position before, and even if things didn’t go perfect, everything was still okay in the end. I get confidence from my training and from the people around me. If the people around me believe in me, that breathes life into me and really helps build my confidence.
4. KLJ: Who inspires you?
HC: Oh my gosh, there’s so many! Even now in my triathlon days, I’m inspired by my time at the University of Georgia and being with such a strong group of when was so inspiring for me. I grew up a lot while I was in college swimming and I think back to that all the time. Things my former teammates said, even you, Kara, were things that really stuck with me. I get inspiration from the athletes that I currently coach. It’s hard for everyone and we’re all just doing our best, that effort that they all put in truly inspires me.
5. KLJ: What do you want to want to say to the next generation of Young Women Dreamers?
HC: I would really want to say; believe in yourself. You can do great things - really great things. I’d also say; build each other up. I think we did a great job of that at University of Georgia, you can be competitors, teammates and best friends. If you work together, everyone is going to get better. I try to apply that to everything in my life.
KLJ: Name one woman you think embodies confidence?
HC: You! I think there was a time, maybe our freshman year before NCAA’s and you were not going into the meet seated first in the 50 free and you said to me “I can win this” and then you did. I learned from you that it’s okay to say you can win, or you can drop time, or you can do something amazing, even small things - when you say them outloud it’s incredibly powerful. I don’t know if that’s a cheater answer because I’m talking to you, but it’s true!
KLJ: Who was your role model at age 10?
HC: I always looked up to the older girls on the swim team. I was living in Bozeman, MT at the time and I can think back to the high school aged girls and a few of them swam in college. I think that had a huge effect on me - when they would come back and tell these stories about being on their teams and how much fun it was and 10 year old me thought; I want to do that! That was a really important thing for me to be exposed to at a young age and it made me start striving to compete in college.
KLJ: What’s your favorite pump-up song before a race?
HC: Oh, Taylor Swift! I have to say Taylor Swift. Shake it Off is so good! You can’t listen to that and not get excited.
KLJ: What’s your favorite way to relax?
HC: Sleep. I learned that one from you too, Kara. I think sleep is really important and it’s something I didn’t do enough of when I was younger. Now I believe that that’s when you get stronger. If I’m awake, I’m typically reading - I love reading and I’ll read anything. It’s healthy to always be learning!
KLJ: What’s your Starbucks order?
HC: I’m so boring, just regular coffee with cream - unless it’s a Friday! On Fridays I will get a latte after Friday morning practice. Fancy Friday coffee, treat yourself!