Spend five minutes around Glendale swimmer Ashley Baldwin and you’ll notice something: she loves to smile.
Those smiles and the laughter shared with teammates is common at a Falcons practice, but don’t let her demeanor fool you.
“When it comes to race time, she’s just as intense and ready to go as can be,” said Glendale Head Coach Steve Boyce.
The proof of that is in the results.
Baldwin has been a state podium finisher in several individual and relay events, making her a key member of the Falcons state championship team last year.
“She really brings a quiet confidence about it,” Boyce said.
Glendale Head Coach Steve Boyce says that confidence sets an example for Baldwin’s teammates.
“I think that’s great for the girls to see that you can still be girly and be a beast when it comes time to race,” Boyce said.
It’s not just her excellence in the pool that makes Ashley’s unique.
It’s also her favorite hobby. Her love of flying.
“Most people are like huh? They’re kind of taken aback,” Baldwin said.
Can you blame them? Not every 18-year old high school student spends their free time behind the controls of an airplane.
To Ashley, it’s no big deal.
“As long as you keep it steady, you’re fine,” Baldwin said.
She says she’s always had adventurous spirit and the desire to fly.
Then last year a friend’s dad got his pilot’s license.
Then she met the flight instructor which set the wheels in motion.
“He invited me to take an introductory flight just to get up the air and see how it works, fly over my house, just have a little bit of fun with it. From the moment I did that I knew this is something I want to do and I loved it,” Baldwin said.
Ashley loved it so much, she plans to continue her flight training with the hopes of flying for an airline.
Boyce says he’s ready to buy a ticket.
“I would fly with her any day. She’s just that great of a kid, shoot I’ve got friends I wouldn’t fly with, but that girl, I’d fly with her any day because I know she’s on top of it,” Boyce said.
Now as Ashley reaches the end of her high school swimming career, she is ready to take that smile from the water to the air.
“I can’t see myself swimming another four years in college, but I can easily see myself flying for the rest of my life,” Baldwin said.
She’ll swim at the state championship meet with her Glendale teammates this weekend.