Former U.S. National Team member and NCAA Champion, Megan Romano, announced she is making the move back to Florida for her final preparations heading towards the 2016 Olympic Trials.
Having remained in Athens, Georgia after graduating from the University of Georgia, then transitioning to a training home in Austin, Texas, Romano is now moving to the South Florida Aquatic Club’s ProFlo Group. ProFlo is already home to two Olympians in the form of USA’s Claire Donahue and Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson.
Just a few weeks shy of her 25th birthday, Romano’s career is coming full circle, at least geographically. Romano was born in Tampa and grew up in St. Petersburg, becoming state high school champion while competing for St. Petersburg Northeast High School before being heavily recruited for college swimming.
In her tenure as a Georgia Bulldog, Romano became an NCAA champion in 2012 when she won the 200 yard free in a then-NCAA, US Open, and American Record time of 1:41.21.
Her experience at the 2012 Olympic Trials was painstakingly short of making the team, however, as Romano finished 7th in the 200m freestyle, one place short of qualifying for a relay spot. Romano also finished 8th in the 100 back, 10th in the 100 meter free, and 14th in the 50 meter free.
Romano proved her value as an elite relay swimmer, however, as the anchor of Team USA’s 400m freestyle squad at the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona, Spain. Romano dove into the water 7 tenths of a second behind Australian Alicia Coutts, but came from behind to beat Coutts with a split of 52.60 and help earn a gold medal for the United States. Romano also anchored the 400 meter medley relay with a split of 53.43 and another gold medal for the United States.
Although Romano has still been present on the domestic swimming scene, she hasn’t been throwing down dominant times that, at least currently, would put her in the same conversation as 200m freestylers Missy Franklin and Katie Ledecky, for example. Nonetheless, earning a berth on the American Olympic roster is still her goal.
Says Romano, “My goal now is to make the team. I am not going to get too specific with my goals. I want to make the team and medal in whatever it is.”
As far as her new training environment with Donahue and Atkinson as a member of ProFlo, Romano says, “I am really excited to be here and training outside. I grew up in Florida and I love being outdoors. I love the girls and the guys. It’s such a great group of people. They are my age and we are all training for the same goal. And, this is such a beautiful area down here.”
Speaking to the path, which led her to where she is now, Romano states, “I guess timing is everything in swimming.” She continues, “Obviously, I was really bummed after the Trials. I am not going to lie. The last couple of years have been hard. I was ready to do other things.”
“I just felt I wasn’t swimming to my ability,” Romano said. “I was still doing it but I wasn’t pushing myself. When I got here I wasn’t in as bad shape as I thought I would be and that’s exciting, even though they did kick my butt and those last two sets really tested my ability.”
According to the South Florida Aquatic Club, when she heard Donahue and her coach joined SOFLO, Romano called and asked “would you mind if I came down and joined you guys.”
“I recently got a fire under me and I want to give it another shot,” Romano said. “I really want to make the team. I have goals I want to accomplish. I am having fun with it again. I am going to give it everything I have. I already feel way more better in the water than I have in a long time.”