Swimming World Presents – Olympic Relay Gold Medalist Melanie Margalis Is Ready For First Individual At Tokyo

SW February 2012 -Olympic Relay Gold Medalist Melanie Margalis Is Ready For First Individual At Tokyo
Olympian Melanie Margalis [PHOTO CREDIT: PETER H. BICK]

The latest issue of Swimming World Magazine
is now available for download in the Swimming World Vault!

Non-Subscribers Can Download This Issue Here

 

Olympic Relay Gold Medalist Melanie Margalis Is Ready For First Individual At Tokyo

By Andy Ross
Photos by Peter H. Bick


Melanie Margalis is an Olympic relay gold medalist and a three-time relay champion at Worlds, but a podium finish in an individual event has eluded her on the world’s biggest stage. She finished fourth in the 200 IM at the last two World Championships and the 2016 Olympics, but after ranking No. 1 in the 400 IM and No. 3 in the shorter medley for 2020, her turn to win a medal for the United States could take place this year in Tokyo.

After establishing herself as one of the top IM’ers in the United States as an undergrad at the University of Georgia in 2014, Melanie Margalis had full focus on the 200 IM heading into the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials. With Maya DiRado and Elizabeth Beisel leading the charge in the longer distance, Margalis had become one of the top 200 IM’ers in the world, finishing seventh at the 2015 Worlds and fourth at the 2016 Olympics.

After Rio 2016, Olympic gold medalist DiRado (200 back, 800 free relay) retired after earning silver in the 400 IM and bronze in the 200. The other Olympic finalist, Elizabeth Beisel, was on a farewell tour in 2017. At the World Championships in Budapest that year, Leah Smith made her 400 IM debut for the U.S. with a sixth-place finish while Beisel closed out her career in seventh.

Margalis was at that meet, capturing gold in the 800 free relay and placing fourth in the 200 IM. But part of her knew that she could have been a factor in that 400 IM race had she trained for it.

“After the 400 IM, Coach (Gregg) Troy pulled me aside and told me, ‘You need to start doing the 400 IM. You need to start swimming it.’ Jack (Bauerle) was telling me all along that I should be doing it, but when Troy added that seed into my brain, I was like, ‘OK, maybe I can give it a shot.’”

LONG AND COMPLICATED HISTORY
Margalis, who turned 29 on Dec. 30, has had a long and complicated history with the 400 IM, widely regarded as one of the most difficult events in swimming. She had made two NCAA A-finals in the event, finishing as high as third as a senior in 2014. Later that summer, she was third at U.S. Nationals, and had swum it periodically over the next two years, but hadn’t been up to speed with DiRado and Beisel, and elected not to swim the race at the 2016 Trials.

By 2018, Margalis was reluctantly training longer IM sets with Bauerle at Georgia and was consistently swimming under 4:40. By the end of that summer, she swam 4:35.50, ranking her eighth in the world.

Flash forward to 2020, and she had jumped to No. 1 in the world. “There was so much work mentally to be done,” Margalis said of the longer race. “I knew in my head that the 400 IM would be my best event, but I couldn’t get there mentally, and it would just tear me apart. It was almost to the point where it wasn’t healthy for my mindset at meets for me to do it because it would just explode my mind. I really had to do work in seeing it as a positive.

“There’s also been so many girls who have stepped up in the U.S. in the 200 IM, and I felt that if I can have another shot to put myself on the team (by swimming both events), then I should take it. But it took a lot of work to get past my mental block with how hard that race is.”

In 2019, four American women were ranked among the top 10 in the world in the 400 IM. Margalis finished the year at 11th, but three months into 2020—two weeks before the Olympics had been postponed—she swam a 4:32.53 at the TYR Pro Series stop in Des Moines, Iowa. She led the world rankings by three-and-a-half seconds!

“I told myself all day that I needed to stop ‘being a baby,’ so that was pretty much my race plan,” Margalis said in her TV interview after the race. “At that meet, I was like, ‘We are going to go for it.’

To read more about Melanie Margalis’s path to Tokyo 2021,
Click here to download the full February 2021 issue of Swimming World now!

SW February 2012 - Emma McKeon COVER[PHOTO BY DELLY CARR, SWIMMING AUSTRALIA]

Get Swimming World Magazine and Swimming World Biweekly FREE When You
Become A Member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame

New! 30 Day Membership to ISHOF AND Digital Swimming World Subscription for just $10 a month!

Want more? Get a 1 Year ISHOF Family Membership With Swimming World Print AND Digital Subscription
Order Now!

Non-Subscribers can click here to download this issue for only $5.94

Swimming World Magazine February 2021 Issue

FEATURES

012 THE PRIDE OF GIRLS’ POLO IN THE GATEWAY CITY
by Michael Randazzo
When COVID-19 lockdowns last spring stopped polo, Rob Peglar and Abby VerMeer didn’t hesitate: they focused on getting girls water polo untracked in the Gateway City. The result: the St. Louis Lions, the city’s first all-girls team.

014 ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL
by Dan D’Addona
The popular motto of The Musketeers, built on supporting each other as well as the group, is just one of many reasons why the University of Texas remains among the strongest in men’s college swimming and diving.

020 READY FOR A BREAKTHROUGH
by Andy Ross
Melanie Margalis is an Olympic relay gold medalist and a three-time relay champion at Worlds, but a podium finish in an individual event has eluded her on the world’s biggest stage. After ranking No. 1 in the 400 IM and No. 3 in the shorter medley for 2020, her turn to win a medal for the United States could take place this year in Tokyo.

022 PERSEVERANCE AND HARD  WORK PAY OFF
by David Rieder
After not qualifying for Australia’s Olympic team in 2012, Emma McKeon was ready to quit…but over the next several months, she had a change of heart and understood what was necessary to compete at a higher level. Since then, she has become a significant international force, a consistent podium presence and one of the world’s most impactful relay swimmers.

026 TAKEOFF TO TOKYO: TARNISHED GOLD
by John Lohn
East Germany’s Kristin Otto will long be remembered as a highly decorated athlete, and for turning in one of the greatest Olympic outings in history, winning six gold medals at the 1988 Games. But because of the links to her and performance-enhancing drugs, what she accomplished—before and in Seoul—will always be tainted.

029 WHO “SHOT” THE SWIMMERS? (Part 2)
by Bruce Wigo
Shortly after the 1936 Olympics in a lab in Boston, Harold “Doc” Edgerton, an electrical engineering professor at MIT, began tinkering with equipment that would change the way science explains natural phenomena—and with it, the art of aquatic sports photography—forever.

032 NUTRITION: TO BE THE BEST, YOU NEED TO EAT THE BEST!
by Dawn Weatherwax
Each year really does build onto another—nutrition is an imperative part of the process, even at an early age.

COACHING

016 SELLING PROCESS TO SWIMMERS (Part 2)
by Michael J. Stott
In 1993, psychologist Anders Ericsson wrote that greatness wasn’t born, but grown. Fifteen years later, author Malcolm Gladwell suggested that it takes roughly 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery in a skill or field. Known by the term, “process,” swim coaches use that learning curve to improve the performance of their swimmers.

036 SWIMMING TECHNIQUE CONCEPTS: FREESTYLE TECHNIQUE FOR SPRINT AND DISTANCE (Part 2)
by Rod Havriluk
Optimal freestyle technique for sprint and distance is identical with respect to the arm motion throughout the stroke cycle, but the arm coordination is different. While a swimmer can swim a wide range of velocities with opposition coordination, a swimmer will only achieve his/her fastest velocity with superposition coordination.

040 SPECIAL SETS: TRAINING THE PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE—THEN AND NOW
by Michael J. Stott
In his lengthy career, Gregg Troy has mentored athletes of all ages and abilities, which has given him a unique perspective of how to prepare post-college grads for excellence at the international level.

042 Q&A WITH COACH JOE PLANE
by Michael J. Stott

044 HOW THEY TRAIN ANDREW IVERSON
by Michael J. Stott

TRAINING

035 DRYSIDE TRAINING: TIME TO GET STRONG…AGAIN!
by J.R. Rosania

JUNIOR SWIMMER

038 GOLDMINDS: JUST GO WITH THE FLOW
by Wayne Goldsmith
How can you control—and even master—your emotions? The answer is by learning to become a more resilient swimmer. Here’s how…

046 UP & COMERS: RICHARD POPLAWSKI
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

COLUMNS

010 A VOICE FOR THE SPORT

011 DID YOU KNOW: 

ABOUT FREDERICK LANE?

047  GUTTERTALK

049 PARTING SHOT

 

Swimming World is now partnered with the International Swimming Hall of Fame. To find out more, visit us at ishof.org

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.