MORRISTOWN, NJ – February is always an exciting month for high school swimmers, but when a world champion swimmer makes a visit, it’s something special. That’s exactly what happened on Friday afternoon when American swimmer Megan Romano, a 16-time international medalist made a guest appearance and spoke to students at Morristown High School on Friday afternoon.
Romano told students about her memorable journey to becoming a professional swimmer from her collegiate career at the University of Georgia to narrowly missing the Olympic Games and then her resilient rebound to the dramatic comeback gold medal win in the 4x100-meter freestyle relay at the 2013 FINA Swimming World Championships in Barcelona. That iconic relay, which was shown to cheering students on the projector in the auditorium, set an American record by two seconds.
She also participated in a Q&A forum, answering any questions students had from meeting Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte to swimming and exercise routines and deciding on which college to attend. After the forum, she signed autographs and took pictures with the students.
“Being able to talk to these kids today and seeing their eyes light up is so fulfilling,” said Romano, a six-time international swimming gold medalist. “Motivating the next generation of swimmers is awesome. I love it.”
Her best advice to the swimmers was to ‘stay motivated and positive.’
“Swimming is a really grueling sport, so the second you’re negative it’s not good,” she explained. “Just stay motivated, set goals and keep striving to get to that next level. Every race is an opportunity to get better – just step up and race whenever possible.”
This weekend, Romano is hosting a two-day clinic at 4UElite in New York City in which she’ll provide swimming techniques and fundamentals to swimmers throughout the tri-state area.
“It’s just amazing – it was very uplifting and motivational day for the students,” said Morristown swim coach Donna Gelegonya . “Never give up on your dreams because you never know what you could accomplish.”
She added that Romano’s resilience in the 2013 FINA Swimming World Championships was a great example for swimmers and other athletes to apply when competing.
“I thought this was an all-around great opportunity for the kids to learn today,” added Gelehonya. “I’m so happy and grateful that they were able to come today and they chose us.”
The Morristown varsity boys and girls swim team will be sending 15 swimmers to compete in the individual swim tournament next weekend (March 3-4) at the Gloucester County Institute of Technology before they wrap up the 2017-18 season.