However, it is the triathlon where the Brookhaven resident and LSU swimming signee has made her biggest athletic impact.
Dabney, who took up the triathlon as a 10-year-old in 2005, has established herself among the elite ranks of young triathletes with a No. 3 ranking in the USA Triathlon national Junior Elite Women national rankings.
She will try to establish herself on the international level as she competes in the Patco Triathlon Pan American Championships in Vila Velha, Brazil, June 29 and 30.
It will be third time in the competition for Dabney, whose No. 3 national ranking earned her an automatic spot on the U.S. team. The top four ranked triathletes automatically earn berths.
Dabney – a member of USA Triathlon’s Southeast Junior High Performance team — said she is looking forward to her return trip to the Pan American triathlon and competing with her American teammates.
“I’m very excited, because I’ve been there the last two years,” Dabney said. “I compete on a really good team. The girls are really close, so I think we’ll be a strong team and we’ll work well together really well. I know everyone has been working super hard and I know I’ve been training for this my entire life, so I’m excited to see the hard work pay off.”
In her two previous appearances, she finished 12th last year and 30th in 2011.
Dabney recently completed an outstanding senior sports season at St. Pius, where she was the Class AAA runner-up with a time of 20 minutes, 21 seconds at the state cross country meet and a third-place finisher in the A-AAAAA 200-yard freestyle (1:50.79) at the state swimming meet.
She has been even more impressive in her triathlon career. She was a bronze medalist in the 2010 USA Youth Elite national championships in San Diego and a USA Triathlon Female All-American in ’09, ’10 and ’12.
Dabney gives much of the credit for her triathlon success to her parents, Bill and Susan Dabney.
“I think it’s crazy to think about the opportunities that I’ve had and that my parents have given me,” she said. “I wouldn’t have accomplished anything without my parents, because they have always been there for me and helped me so much.”
It was Dabney’s father Bill – a competitive triathlete himself who has competed in 24 Ironman triathlons – in particular who helped guide her into the sport.
“My dad has really been an inspiration and he really helped me get my career going, for sure,” Dabney said.
In her triathlon training, Dabney swims about six days a week, with three of the six days consisting of double workouts, while running three to four days a week for one hour a day and bikes about three times a week.
She said she is looking to improve on her finishes from the previous two years at the Pan American competition.
“My realistic goal is top 10 and my stretch goal – which is the hard one that I’m going to try to get – is top three American or top-seven finish [overall].”
She also is looking forward to a couple of major competitions in August — the USA ITU Nationals in West Chester, Ohio, and at the Age Group Sprint Nationals in Milwaukee.