WARSAW – The Northern Lakes Conference has had some outstanding young swimmers come through the ranks in recent years. Warsaw’s Brenna Morgan was one of the latest, taking the conference by storm as a freshman and only going up from there.
All eyes in last year’s NLC championship series were squarely focused on what the three tops dogs in the standings – Wawasee, Northridge and Concord – would do to outshine one another as the girls swim meet unfolded.
Wawasee was busy besting Northridge as the conference champion for the first time since 1996, and most of the attention was paid there. But mixed into the excitement of the memorable meet was the work Morgan was doing in the 50 and 100 freestyles. At the time, the only people excited were clad in orange and black, but it might be time for everyone else in the conference to take a look at this talented sophomore.
Morgan didn’t just have a good day at the NLC meet, but parlayed that weekend into a very strong finish to her freshman year. The 24.44 winner in the 50 at the NLC turned into a 24.24 winner at the Warsaw Sectional, which broke the meet record. A week later at the state prelims, her 24.15 broke the school mark, which she settled for a 24.29 in the state consoles.
In the 100 at the NLC, her 53.20 championship time dropped to a 52.91 title at the sectional, then down to 52.60 and finally 51.64 in the consolation finals at state, which she won the heat to finish ninth overall in the state in the event. The Saturday swim at state also set the school record.
“The most important thing I learned from my freshman year is that it’s okay to fail,” said the humble Morgan. “Although I ended the season on a positive note, there were plenty of times when I didn’t feel capable of success. I had to learn to be okay with my failures and use them as a learning opportunity.”
Morgan admitted her teammates had more to do with her success as a freshman than her own ability, often not heard from such a young athlete.
“The most important thing I see in my records is my teammate’s constant support,” Morgan said. “Constant encouragement and their willingness to push me further than I ever thought possible. For that reason, I will never see my records as another time for me to chase down and beat.”
Morgan stated on several occasions that the 50 and 100 freestyles really are luck of the draw races, and anyone can have a great swim to break through. Morgan proved that by winning the 100 state consoles from the outside lane. But Warsaw head coach Tony DeBrota feels Morgan has the technical skill to continue to lead the pack in the two events.
“There’s no doubt that Brenna will be watched more closely this year by other sprinters in conference and sectionals,” DeBrota said. “I think she has control of her own fate. Perhaps the most crucial aspect for Brenna, however, is that she not settle for last year’s accomplishments. It’s important that she continue this season with the right focus and state of mind to reach new goals and greater success.”