Lucas at Large: Title in hand, Meyer sets sights on Olympics

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Despite becoming the first swimmer in school history to win a national championship, Maggie Meyer's daily workload in the pool hasn't lessened to any appreciably degree.

That's because she has her eyes fixed on the next goal; or rather THE gold, the gold medal. Meyer's complete focus has turned to the 2012 Olympics in London, England.

"Having that title," she said of her victory in the 200-yard backstroke last March, "really has given me a little more confidence going into this next step of my swimming career. Having it under my belt has made me feel more capable and confident with my potential and what's to come in the next year."

Would she have felt the same way about her Badger career without an NCAA title?

"Absolutely," she said. "I've always been very much invested in the process and thinking about what happens at the end of it as a bonus. I got a lot out of being a student-athlete at the UW-Madison. I got more out of it than I could have dreamed and I absolutely would have been fulfilled if I hadn't won."

Meyer's backstroke championship was a culmination, more than a coronation. It culminated four years of commitment and sacrifice. "It was a very special moment I will always cherish," she said.

In the context of leaving a legacy as an accomplished college athlete - the Big Ten's Swimmer of the Year, no less - she wants to be remembered for "being focused, dedicated and well-balanced."

One other thing she wants people to know. "That I really earned that title," she added.

As she prepares for London, Meyer is now training twice a day Monday, Wednesday and Friday; once each on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Her only void has been school.

"I've been trying to think about another focus," said Meyer, who got her undergraduate degree from the UW in the spring, "because I really worked hard at trying to get a good balance between athletics and academics. That's a reason why I was so successful in both."

She can see herself doing many things. Maybe she will do volunteer work in the community. Maybe she will join a book club. Or, maybe she will reconsider going to grad school.

Mostly, she can see herself swimming in London; a most reachable goal.

"I'm working for it," Meyer said.
ON WISCONSIN