Megan Kingsley Going for Olympic Trials Despite Knee Injury

2016.03.19 2016 Womens NCAA Swimming Championships_Georgia Megan Kingsley
Photo Courtesy: Reagan Lunn/Georgia Tech Athletics

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Last Friday at the Longhorn Elite Invite in Austin, Georgia junior Megan Kingsley dislocated her knee while diving in for the 100 fly final. Kingsley had been the top seed out of prelims, but she pulled up after one dolphin kick and swam back to the wall.

But Kingsley says that she still plans on going to Olympic Trials, which begin on June 26. She finished 11th in the 200 fly in her Trials debut four years ago, less than a second away from making the final, and she was third at NCAAs this past March in that event.

Kingsley has had a history with knee trouble, having first dislocated her knee just after Olympic Trials in 2012 while she was still in high school. So when her knee popped out on the start and then immediately went back into place as she did her first dolphin kick, the pain she felt was very familiar.

“The first thing that went through my mind was fear,” Kingsley said. “It felt like almost my entire career, the past years I’ve been working my butt off for this just flashed before my eyes. It was the most terrifying thing that I’ve ever gone through.”

An MRI Tuesday revealed bone bruising and knee ligaments that were stretched but not torn. Doctors told Kingsley that recovery would be a two-to-three week process.

“They told me they would prefer me to not be swimming, but they left it up to me knowing that I’ve had this injury before, and they understand that Trials is important,” she said.

But it took Kingsley a few days to decide that she would actually go for it.

“I decided it would be better to try and know than to wonder the rest of my life what could have happened.”

Kingsley recently shed her knee brace and is still on crutches, but she is already back in the pool. Currently, she is limited to pulling and can only push off the wall with her uninjured right foot. She hopes to begin moderate-paced kicking next week and add in turns shortly after. She says that she will wait as long as possible to practice starts, given that one of those caused the injury in the first place.

Georgia head coach Jack Bauerle believes that despite the obviously-lousy timing of Kingsley’s injury, she has the mental makeup to push through.

“She’s a little bit small in size, but she’s tough,” Bauerle said. “Everything she comes by she comes by true hard work. I think that serves you well when you go through something like this. Her attitude has been as good as you could expect.”

Kingsley admits that it has been tough to stay positive over the last week—she can hardly sleep as she deals with the pain in her knee—but credits those closest to her for keeping her upbeat.

“I could not do it without my teammates, my family and my coaches,” Kingsley said. “They just surround me every day and tell me that I’m going to be okay. They let me be upset every now and then, but they’re like, ‘You’re tough, you can handle it and you haven’t worked through all of this for nothing.’”

Kingsley is qualified for Trials both IM events, but she has ruled those out as breaststroke kick would put too much pressure on her knees. Assuming all goes well over the next two weeks, she will contest the 100 fly beginning on June 26 and the 200 fly on June 29.

Race Video: 100 fly at Longhorn Aquatics Elite Invite