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Megan Becker swam a personal best to finish second in the 100-yard freestyle meet in the state finals.

AHS freshman makes big splash in state finals with 2nd, 4th place finishes

ASHEBORO — As a freshman heading into the NCHSAA state swimming championships, Asheboro High School’s Megan Becker said she wasn’t sure what to expect.

She had competed in high-level meets before, but being a freshman, it was her very first high school meet against the best swimmers in the state.

Becker sure made a big splash in her very first state championship.

Becker finished second overall in the 100-yard freestyle event and fourth in the 200-yard freestyle race, while being a member of the ninth-place 400-yard freestyle relay and the 10th-place 200-yard freestyle relay. It was quite a busy day at the Triangle Aquatic Center in Cary.

“I had no idea what to expect, but I kind of knew the competition,” Becker said. “I looked at last year’s times, but I had no clue what to expect. Since I had a lot of training, I adapted to the way meets are run. I know how I feel at swim meets and just handled it like it was a normal swim meet.”

She certainly swam like she was comfortable. In the 100-yard freestyle, Becker clocked a personal best time of 53.57 seconds, behind only Katie Belle Sikes of Orange, who set a state record with a time of 49.95. 

In the 200-yard freestyle, her time of 1:56.40 was a personal best.

“For her to be able to do what she did definitely shows the potential she has for the next three years,” AHS swim coach Chuck Hinson said. “She definitely showed she’s a competitor.”

Becker, who has been swimming since age 8, started with the local program at the Randolph-Asheboro YMCA before moving to Enfinity Aquatic Club in Greensboro.

“I was really, really nervous coming in as a freshman, joining the Asheboro High School team because you don’t know what to expect as a freshman,” Becker said.

Becker and her teammates had an outstanding regular season and when the regionals came around, there were decisions that had to be made. For regionals, each swimmer can enter no more than two individual events and two relays. Picking the events Becker would enter took some research.

“When we were looking at all the possible entries Megan could have swam in for regionals, we saw how she was ranked for the regionals and compared that with the other regions,” Hinson said. “We kind of made a guess as to what she would place better in, what her best opportunities were.” 

It was decided that Becker would compete in the 100- and 200-yard freestyle events as well as anchoring the 200- and 400-yard freestyle relay races with Maci Columbia, Madison Burnett and Fiona Wolf-Roberts. At the regionals, Becker placed second in both individual events, while the 400-relay team placed third and the 200-relay team was sixth. There were three regional swim meets statewide.

Columbia also qualified for two individual events and Tyler Smith qualified on the boys side for one event.
“My main goal was to make the A finals,” Becker said of having to finish in the top eight during the preliminary race. “Really, most of the swimming part is just training and mentally, you have to have a good spirit and tell yourself you can do it.” 

Becker qualified for the A finals in both individual events and then swam her best time ever to finish second in the 100.

“Coming in second shocked me so much,” Becker said. “On the way home, every five minutes, it was like I couldn’t believe it. I was so shocked.”

“I definitely think finishing in the top two was a surprise,” Hinson said. “Not that I doubted her. It’s hard coming in as a senior even. I remember when I was in states and the nerves can really get to you. This was the first time she was in the caliber of this meet in high school.”

Her fourth-place finish in the 200 was also very impressive.

“For the 100, it’s basically all out all the time,” Becker said. “You really want to have a fast start. For the 200, it’s a longer distance so you want to go all out the first two 50s and the third is the slowest. The fourth 50 you go all out.”
Though the AHS relay teams didn’t qualify for the A finals in the preliminaries, the time of 4:01.35 earned the team a 9th place finish in the B finals. If they had qualified for the A finals, that time would have been good enough for a seventh place finish.

Becker, a three sport performer who also plays volleyball and runs track, will continue her swimming with Enfinity, competing in some high-profile meets.

“I think swimming is you get out what you put in,” Hinson said. “You can start at any age and do just as good as someone who has been swimming for years if you put the work in.”

No doubt, Becker has put in the work.