Girls Swim Star Heads to State


Megan Appel, senior swimmer, qualified for State at the regional finals on February 7 at the LISD Westside Aquatic Center. 

After competing in the challenging 200-yard Individual Medley with a time of 2:05.76 and the 500-yard Freestyle with a time of 5:01.56, Appel finished both her events on the podium and will advance to the state meet at the University of Texas at Austin on February 17-18. 

“It was really nice to finish a long, hard race, look up at the scoreboard, and know that all my hard work had paid off,” Appel said. “All the late nights and grueling practices did make a difference and were definitely worth it, even though it didn’t seem like it at the time. The group hug from the team after I climbed out of the pool just sweetened the moment even more.”

Despite the high stakes looming in the meet, Appel stayed calm and focused on her end goals. As a competitor, she has extreme mental toughness and has developed a pre-meet routine that has helped her prepare for her races.

“Knowing that I deserved to be there and telling myself that over and over in order to not let the other teams and swimmers get in my head is a huge pre-meet ritual for me,” Appel said. “Doing the same warmup routine and eating the same snacks meet after meet also lets my mind know that we’ve done this before, and done well, so we can do it again.”

At the regional finals, Appel also competed in the 400-yard Freestyle relay where each athlete set a personal best time. Although the team shaved 3 seconds from their predicted time and medaled in the event, the relay team fell short of qualifying for state by 0.7 seconds. Despite the result, Appel recalls swimming with this team as her favorite moment of her swim career. 

“Although missing state by 0.7 seconds in that race was a little disappointing, I was extremely happy that we ended up on the podium,” Appel said. “I loved the feeling of walking up there with some of my best friends.”

During her high school career, Appel has been a dominant force in both her individual events and relays. Her love for swimming was discovered at a young age and her love for the sport lead her to want to compete at a high level. 

“The more time I spent in and around pools, the more my parents and I realized that it was my happy place,” Appel said, “To this day, the pool is the place where I can let all my school stress and college worries go and focus on my body and the feel of the water around me.”

As Appel represents the school in the state meet, she will continue to keep her strong mindset and hopes to bring home a victory for herself and the program. 

“‘I deserve to be here, and ‘I’m going to leave everything I have in the water’ will repeat in my head daily until I’m standing behind the blocks,” Appel said. “I’m fine tuning a few technique problems my coach noticed but ultimately focusing on leaving my last high school meet with a bang!”