We haven’t seen much from UVA swimmer Megan Moroney since she competed at the 2016 Olympic Trials. And not like “her times haven’t been great”. Like, literally where is Megan Moroney? Did she graduate? Did she leave the team? We recently caught up with Moroney at the Women’s NCAA championships, and found out that she is still very much a part of the team, and now in better form than ever.
Shortly after the Olympic Trials in Omaha, Megan started having pain in her shoulders, and after this went on for a couple months, she saw a doctor. The diagnosis? A torn labrum. The quick fix? lots of massage and physical therapy, plus taking it easy. The long term fix? Surgery.
Moroney expressed that “surgery” is a daunting concept to any athlete, immediately bringing to mind a scenario where they are never the same athlete that they were before the procedure. She tried to put it off as much as she could, but eventually had surgery on her shoulders in March of 2017. Megan expressed the frustration of having to sit out of the championship season in 2017 and watch from the sidelines as her team competed without her.
After her surgery, Moroney didn’t take a single stroke until the end of July (4 months). When she did start swimming, it was only a 50. A week after that, it was a 100. And mind you, she was not permitted to swim fast at all. Once she got up to 1,000 a day, If there were any complications with swimming, she wasn’t allowed to add on yardage to her routine until her body felt completely comfortable.
While this recovery process was hard enough on its own, she also had to deal with the fact that her whole head coach, Auggie Busch, had left the UVA program to take the head coach position at the University of Arizona. Megan was left with an entirely new coaching staff, headed by Todd DeSorbo, an uncomfortable position for someone who wants to garner as little unnecessary attention as possible. Moroney expressed that she was tentative with her first meetings with the coaches, as she had to be upfront about her limitations and what she could and could not do in training.
As the season went on, however, Moroney gained more and more strength in her swimming as well as more confidence and comfort in the new coaching staff. The real test was at mid-season at the Georgia invite, where it would be Moroney’s first suited and shaved meet since Olympic Trials, at that point nearly 18 months in the past. Moroney did not meet her expectations in Athens, and it was a reality check in a big way. No longer was she going to be the person who was “injured”, or let that set her back in or out of the pool.
Fast forward 3 months to the post season. Megan Moroney clocks a lifetime best in the 200 free (1:43.60) that;s good for 2nd place. She places 3rd in her other two events, the 100 and 200 backstroke with times of 52.17 (a lifetime best) and 1:52.60. At the NCAA championships, Moroney continued her success, qualifying 6th in the prelims of the 200 free; the first NCAA A-final of her career. She ends up placing 7th overall. While she declared a false start in the 100 back, on the final day of competition she qualified 16th in the 200 back. In finals, Moroney impressed by dropping .6 from her prelims time in a new best of 1:51.58 to place 10th.
Only a sophomore this year, it seems Moroney is not only back on track, but has hit the ground running.