Getting to Know Olympic Medalist: Melanie Margalis

Melanie Margalis
Melanie Margalis is a versatile swimmer, but primarily a breaststroke and IM specialist from her hometown of Clearwater, Fla. Margalis was born to parents, Bob and Caryn, and her brother is Robert Margalis, also a stand-out Georgia swimmer and a NCAA Champion. Margarlis studied Fashion Merchandising.

High school swimming 
Margalis graduated from Countryside High School, where she was also a club swimmer for St. Petersburg Aquatics. There, she was coached by Fred Lewis. In high school swimming she was a three-time state champion, and she held the state record in the 200-yard IM.

For four years in a row, Margalis was named her teams’ MVP. Proving her versatility, she also swam the 500-yard free in 2009 in which she also won a state championship. After her performances that season, she was named the 2009-2010 Pinellas County Female Athlete of the Year. That same year she was named to the National Youth Championship Team.

College swimming
A college choice wasn’t too difficult for Margalis, especially after she saw how successful her brother, Robert, had been at Georgia. She committed to the Bulldogs, and immediately made an impact.

As a freshman she got a lot of exposure on the national level — she swam as a part of the winning 400 free relay team, and individually she finished sixth in the 200 IM and ninth in the 400 IM at the NCAA Championships. Coach Jack Baurle mentioned that Margalis could’ve performed even better as a freshman, if she had not have been overwhelmed with the speed of her teammates.

During her sophomore year Margalis was twice named the SEC Swimmer of the Week. At SEC’s she picked up three second-place finishes — 400 IM, 200 IM and as a leg of the 400 free relay. Margalis also finished fourth in the 200 breaststroke, and was on the winning 800 free relay. At the NCAA Championships in 2012, she finished sixth once again in the 200 IM and 10th in the 400 IM — this year she also finished in the semi-final of the 200 breaststroke, finishing 11th.

Margalis had her first individual SEC win in 2013, when she won the 200 IM. She also finished fourth in the 100 and 200 breaststroke, and swam on two relays. She qualified for the NCAA Championships for her third year in a row, and Margalis qualified for two championship finals. She finished sixth in the 200 IM and seventh in the 400 IM. Margalis also finished 11th again in the 200 breast to help the Lady Bulldogs win their fifth national title.

During her senior year, Margalis was making headlines across the swimming world. Many people were just hearing her name for the first time, and she was a frontrunner at the NCAA Championships. As team captain, Margalis finished second in the 200 IM by less than .20 seconds and third in the 400 IM. She also picked up a fourth-place finish in the 200 breast.

International Swimming
Margalis first competed internationally at the 2013 World University Games in Russia, where she picked up a win as a member of the 800-meter free relay and brought home a bronze in the 200 IM.

At the 2014 Phillips 66 National Championships, Margalis won the 200-meter IM and finished third in both the 400-meter IM and 200-meter breaststroke to earn a roster spot on the Pan Pac team — she finished 12th in the 400 IM and ninth in the 200 IM. Later that year she also competed at the 2014 World Short Course Championships, swimming the IM events. She won a bronze in the 200 IM and finished sixth in the 100 IM.

In 2014 she was announced to the 2015 World Championships roster. In Kazan Margalis was listed to swim the 200 IM.

2016 US Olympic Trials

The youngest of the swimming Margalis family, Melanie found success in the 200M IM and finished second to Miya DiRado, shoring up a spot on the US Team headed to Rio. She had a great deal of catching up to do in the freestyle leg, having started eigth after the fly, sixth after the back, 5th after the fly, and splitting the fastest free split of 30.26 to finish .57 seconds behind first place with a time of 2:10.11.

Margalis also finished sixth in the 200M Free and earned a spot on the 4x200M Free Relay.

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