New Horizon's Timm Hines’ sets sight on Olympic archery

Timm Hines, seventh-grade math teacher at New Horizon School, draws back his recurve bow while practicing at school. - Matt Brashears/Renton Reporter
Timm Hines, seventh-grade math teacher at New Horizon School, draws back his recurve bow while practicing at school.
— image credit: Matt Brashears/Renton Reporter

What started with Timm Hines wanting to be prepared to lead an afterschool club soon became a whirlwind of Olympic trials, national teams and state records. Hines didn’t know he had an aptitude for archery; but just six months after starting, he found himself at the Olympic trials, shooting next to the world’s best archers.

“It’s just been an incredible ride, completely unexpected,” Hines said.

Hines teaches math, physical education, weight training and other classes at the New Horizon School in Renton. Six years ago, Hines and another teacher decided to start an after-school program for students wanting to practice archery.

“I really didn’t know a lot about archery at the time,” the 35 year old said. “But I’m a person who doesn’t like to lead from behind. I like to try to go and experience it.”

Hines of Kent found his way into a number of tournaments, one thing led to another and he was in the 2004 Olympic Trials.

“I went and did that and I thought it was great,” Hines said. “But I realized at the trials that I was nowhere close to being prepared for that level of competition.”

After that revelation, Hines committed himself to getting better. More tournaments, higher-level tournaments and more experience anywhere he could find it. He made the National Archery Association national team within three years of starting and has made the team again for next year.

Hines’ rise from beginner to Olympic trials in six months is almost unprecedented. Hines estimated three or four archers have done it since archery was introduced in 1972.

Out of season, Hines trains six to eight hours a week. In season, he trains six to eight hours a day. That’s equivalent to about 400 to 500 arrows shot, and that doesn’t include time in the gym. Hines shoots a recurve bow. A recurve bow has a large, gentle curve and the tips curve away from the archer. This type of bow holds more energy than most other bows and requires a finer touch when aiming.

“The difference with a recurve bow versus a compound bow is the consistency is based on the archer, not the equipment,” Hines said.

Hines competes in about six major competitions every year and a number of local ones. He’s able to compete so much because he has a lot of support.

Great Northwest Archery in Puyallup sponsors him by cutting down his range fees. Other teachers at New Horizon help by donating sick days so he can take time off for competitions, something that Hines has taken to heart.

“It’s been a really great experience with the school, because it makes you feel like you’re being supported,” Hines said.

Hines recently won the Washington Games Male Athlete of the Year award when some of the individuals he helps coach submitted an application on his behalf. Winning the award helped Hines feel like he’s successfully straddling the awkward position of athlete-coach.

“It’s pretty touching that they would do that for me,” Hines said. “That’s part of the coach/athlete flip flop. As a coach you have the ability to sit back, and want your athletes to take all of the recognition. But as an athlete you want to make sure you’re stepping into the limelight to forge the path.”

He also won the gold medal in his age division in archery at the 2008 Washington Games. Hines holds 12 state records for different distances, time periods and shots. There’s only one record in an indoor event that he hasn’t been able to capture.

Although he’s accomplished quite a bit already, Hines isn’t close to being satisfied with archery.

“The biggest accomplishment so far for me is that I haven’t reached my biggest accomplishment yet,” Hines said. “I still have a lot more to do and I know it. I’m waiting for that day when I hit my full potential.”

Hines said Washington state has more tournaments per individual than any other state and is a great place to get into archery. He suggests archery for anyone because it’s easy to learn and a good way to spend time with friends or family.

“I’d definitely encourage everyone to try it,” he said. “I’m a nobody from nowhere and I fell into the sport. Imagine what somebody who has some real talent could do.”

In the next year, Hines wants to get into more international competitions. Long term, he’s eyeing the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

There’s also the matter of that last state record Hines can’t quite seem to capture. “Oh, I’ve been trying,” he said. “I’ve tied it three times. I’m always just one point off.”

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