The world leader in the 400 m hurdles for 2018, Sydney McLaughlin went to high school in New Jersey, spent one year in college at Kentucky and then turned pro. She completed her east-to-west journey and is now living in Los Angeles.
She announced last week that she will be coached by 2004 Olympic 100 m hurdles gold medalist Joanna Hayes, currently a coach at the University of Southern California, but who went to UCLA and coached at UCLA from 2014-16.
During that time, Hayes oversaw the development of Rai Benjamin, who went to high school in New York and then came west to UCLA. He improved from 49.97 as a prep to 49.82 as a freshman – under Hayes’s direction– and then broke through to 48.33 as a sophomore for second in the NCAA Championships.
Hayes left UCLA because the head coach, Mike Maynard, stepped down after the 2017 season and the staff was replaced. She went to USC to coach with Caryl Smith Gilbert (also a UCLA grad) and helped Benjamin – who followed her to USC – to an NCAA Championship and a sensational lifetime best of 47.02, equal-third on the all-time list.