Robby's Swimming Career Before 'The Bachelorette' Proves The Contestant Was A Big Deal

You might not know this, but The Bachelorette contestant Robby Hayes traded in his swimming gear for a chance at love with JoJo Fletcher. That's right — Robby was a swimmer — and a pretty good one, at that — before he appeared on the ABC reality dating show. So, just how successful was The Bachelorette's Robby as a swimmer? According to an interview with USA Swimming, Robby participated in the Olympic trials in 2012 with the encouragement of his parents — but that was the last time he swam laps in a pool. "I gave it a chance and I qualified in five events and swam four," he said during the interview, which took place at the location of the current 2016 Olympic trials in Omaha, Nebraska.

The archive results on USA Swimming show that Robby (who was 23 at the time) swam in the preliminaries, but did not make it to the finals in his events. But still, it was quite an achievement for Robby, who swam in college for Florida State University. He told USA Swimming that he had no problem with how he's been portrayed on The Bachelorette, especially when it comes to being a former athlete. "Me being the former competitive swimmer on the show, I've gotten lots of compliments, out here around the pool deck [in Omaha] about me living up to the swimmer's dream," he said. "You know, being out there and looking good in a bathing suit when I'm jumping off a cliff."

And the rundown of Robby's swimming career shows just what a big deal he was.

Olympic Trials

According to USA Swimming, Robby competed in the following preliminary events (as Robert Hayes): 100 LC meter butterfly (finished 24th), 50 LC meter freestyle (finished 97th), 200 LC meter IM (finished 43rd).

Florida State University

From 2007 until graduation in 2012, he competed with the Division I athletic program, which competes in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). According to FSU's athletic profile of Robby, the Georgia native broke school records, qualified for the NCAA tournament, received NCAA Honorable Mention All-American honors, and he excelled in the classroom, too, being named to the All-ACC Academic Team.

In an interview with Her Campus back in 2011, Robby explained that he chose to attend FSU, because he loved the atmosphere of the Tallahassee school, where he majored in finance and real estate. "I chose FSU 'cause of the close knit team, the FSU cowgirls, the great coaching staff, and the constant partying," he told the website.

Marist High School

According to his FSU Athletics profile, Robby was a swimming star while at Marist High School, located in the Atlanta suburb of Alpharetta, Georga. He won the Georgia state championship in breastroke twice and butterfly. He received Georgia All-State team honors three times, and earned All-America honors as a junior at the Georgia state championship, according to Swimming World magazine.

Robby had been swimming since as young as five-years old and even competed in Florida swim meets during his childhood, according to an article in the Florida Times-Union.

It's no wonder Robby has metaphorically swam into fans hearts on The Bachelorette, but viewers will have to wait and see if that's the case for JoJo.

Image: Veronica Gambini/ABC