Never Settle

When you swim competitively, the unwritten rule is… your life is the water. With hours upon hours a day in the pool, most swimmers feel out of place on dry land. The water feels like home, and Desert Hills senior Megan Draney is no exception to this rule.

Desert Hills Class of 2016 Swimming 3.85GPA

Holding to a committed schedule to be at her best, Megan is up by 4:30am to be in the water from 5am-7am before a full day of school. Add to her early morning practices a couple evening practices on Mondays and Thursdays from 8pm to 10pm. On her off nights, the swimmer has Club Swim after school from 3:30pm to 5:30pm, and when you throw in an extra hour of coaching younger swimmers a few nights a week, to say Megan is always in the water is an understatement.

“I swim year-round for high school and club. High School swim is very exciting. That is when we have most of our competitions. It’s more like our competition season because we usually have a swim meet every weekend. It’s all very exciting and practicing gets even more serious because all of us are training for state.”

Swimmers certainly impose upon themselves a unique kind of pressure. Traditionally you know rather easily who wins a game, set, or round, yet with swimmers, you have this three-in-one competition going on with every race. Winning a swim meet can mean losing at the same time. When you are competing, you are competing against your opposing team to rack up overall points, against the swimmer in the lanes next to you to out touch them at the wall, and then there is the dreaded clock for your fastest time. “If you are really focused, then it is just you and the clock. You can win a race to come in first but still lose because you didn’t drop any time.” Says Megan, “Swimmers want to be getting faster every race.”

When Amelia was a senior and Megan a sophomore, the sisters had the opportunity to swim a relay together for a statet title. Racing the 4 x 100 meter relay, Megan would be first off the block with Amelia as anchor, and they found themselves side by side in Park City. Recalls Jeanie, Megan’s mother, “They were just neck and neck. It was almost like no other team was there. You could see both teams just fighting for it. Everyone in the venue was just screaming, and at the end, they were out touched by Park City by fractions of a second.” While taking second may seem like a loss to some, Megan and the rest of her relay team would learn that they had broken a previously held record, and the opportunity to break a record, with her older sister while competing at state, made it all the more memorable for her.

“If you are really focused, then it is just you and the clock. You can win a race to come in first but still lose because you didn’t drop any time.”

Megan is grateful to all of her coaches for the opportunities they help provide for her and her fellow teammates to learn and grow. Most recently her club team met Olympic Gold Medalist Matt Grevers and his wife, Annie, who herself qualified for Olympic Trials in both 2008 and 2012. “It’s a surreal feeling when you meet these great athletes. They are like your celebrities.”

With an older sister, Amelia, swimming Division 1 for Boise State, Megan hopes to follow her sister’s competitive example and swim at the collegiate level. “My sister and I are really close. I didn’t like swimming at first but watching her, (she was a State Champion who broke 5 state records), do so well was a good experience for me. Being with the other swimmers as a freshman was good for me too because I got to see through their examples, how important it was to really work hard and do well and to never settle.”

Taking her driven perspective and competitive desire into her academics, Megan does not shy away from the rigors of AP and Honors courses. Seeing the more challenging courses as a gateway to a solid collegiate education, Megan takes them head on.

Time management is an absolute to be successful at anything, and Megan has determined not to let anything keep her from her goals academically and athletically. “Balancing everything can be tricky. During school when I am done with assignments in one class, I am pulling out and working on assignments for another class to get it done then. I do whatever I can to fit it in and work ahead whenever possible.”

Spending an hour or two each night working on homework, Megan does find some time to unwind with a good book. “I like AP Literature a lot since I love to read. I read all the time. It’s fun for me. I have a whole room that is full of books. It’s my own personal library.” With no specific genre, Megan reads for the sheer joy of reading.

Megan recently returned from trips to Boston, MA, to visit Brandeis and Tufts University as well as a trip to Washington, DC, to visit the Catholic University of America. She looks to attend a Division 3 College to give her more time to focus on her academics. Speaking of her experience, Megan shares, “I love visiting both Boston and DC. The campuses are very pretty. They are both different, but they have a ton of culture and diversity there. I was able to meet a lot of people from different countries.”

The thing about Megan and her quiet demeanor is you hear very little if any boasting about her accomplishments. This she believes has a great deal to do with how she was brought up. She states, “We know to take the hard classes, to challenge ourselves, and not settle for anything but your best, to work hard. That is just the way it should be. Why take things easy when you can accomplish so much more by challenging yourself?” Somewhat of a private individual with many hidden talents to go with her academic and athletic prowess, Megan’s mother, Jeanie, lets a few secrets out of the bag. “Megan is a very accomplished musician. She can play the piano very well and also plays the ukulele and the flute. She doesn’t just play music; she has a gorgeous voice, and I love to hear her sing.” A little shy when hearing her mother, Jeanie, list off a few of Megan’s hidden talents, Megan tries to hold onto a bit of modesty in sharing them with others. “No one knows,” says her mom. “She doesn’t tell anyone she can sing, and she has a beautiful voice.”

Well Megan…Region 9 knows about your hidden talent now so be sure to let us know when you’re performing live. • HSSI