Indeed, it just keeps getting better for Cooper.
Cooper, the reigning IHSA state champion in the 50 and 100-yard freestyle, placed fourth among swimmers ages 18 and under in the 100 meters and took third among swimmers in her age group in the 50 meters at the Phillips 66 U.S. Swimming National Championships in Palo Alto, Calif. earlier this month.
It qualified Cooper to compete for the United States 4x100 relay team at the Junior World Championships in Budapest, Hungary Aug. 20-25.
"It was a goal of mine the whole season," Cooper said. "Obviously it's hard to control what other people do. I set my goals for time that would qualify for it. It was always in the back of my head, wanting to be able to travel with the team. It sounds like such a fun experience. It was a big accomplishment for me."
Cooper is one of 26 girls, along with 26 boys, who will represent the U.S. at the Junior World Championships, considered the highest level of competition among swimmers under age 18.
Cooper swam a lifetime-best 55.52 seconds in the 100 at nationals, eclipsing the 55.76 she swam at Speedo Sectionals the week before. It was good for 21st among all swimmers. In the 50 she was clocked in 25.33, seventh among all swimmers.
"I was happy – it's felt like such a long season," Cooper said. "To be able to do what I did, stay focused and have my eyes on the prize, it was something I'm proud of myself for."