Bryan senior Meggie Voigt still remembers it well.
She was 8 years old at her swim team’s annual summer league meet, poring over heat sheets to see where she stood against the rest of the field.
Prior to that year, Voigt says she mostly thought of swimming as something she did for fun, while her coach Makenzie Luce alleges it was a sport her parents stuck her in so the rambunctious Voigt could burn off some extra energy.
Whatever it was, though, something about that day gave Voigt some added motivation.
“I think just after looking at where I was seeded, even if I was second or something, I thought, ‘I know I can beat this girl,’” Voigt said. “Then after having a goal and knowing I could swim faster than what I was, I guess I just went for it.”
Voigt went on to win all five of her events at the meet, and as she reflects back on the moment, she says it was one of the first times she realized she had some talent in the sport.
She hasn’t slowed down since. All these years later, Voigt — now an all-Ohio swimmer who’s on her way to swim at Ohio University next fall — says she can’t believe how fast time’s gone by.
“It’s weird,” Voigt said. “Everyone always says high school will go by quick. But I never really believed it until I’m here four years later.”
After Voigt soared through the Bryan youth levels breaking record after record, she arrived to Bryan’s high school team maybe still a bit naive to her own talent level. As a freshman, Voigt, who wasn’t sure what to expect of the season, ended up advancing all the way to the Division II state meet, capping her season with a pair of first team all-Ohio finishes in the 50-yard freestyle and 200-yard freestyle relay.
The last two years have been similarly successful for Voigt. She’s returned to the state meet each year and has now racked up three first team and six second team all-Ohio finishes. Along the way, she’s also broken five school records in the 50 free (23.79 seconds), 200 free (1:58.97), in addition to swimming legs on the school-record 200 medley, 200 free and 400 free relay teams.
While Voigt excels in the pool and says swimming is her favorite sport, she’s been able to demonstrate her athletic prowess all over for the Golden Bears. Voigt is also a three-year starting goaltender for the girls soccer team, a three-year starter on the softball team and for the past two years, has been one of the top sprinters and long jumpers on the girls track team.
Luce, who has coached Voigt since she was as young as 6 years old, says all the success and accolades couldn’t happen to a better kid.
“Meggie is one of those kids, where as much success as she has had … she’s very humble as well,” Luce said. “It’s that perfect mantra of an athlete that you want: someone who works their tail end off in the pool, is a leader every day, who goes out there and races as hard as she can every single race, but then gets out, shakes hands with the person next to them and waits for her teammates to finish and tell them, ‘Good job.’
“She’s incredibly humble and is an incredible teammate. As a coach, to watch that and then to see all the success that she’s had, it’s a lot of fun. I’m pretty lucky that I get to watch it every single day.”
In addition, Luce says Voigt is looked up to by all of her teammates, most notably by some of the younger ones in the summer swim program.
“I don’t know how much she knows that,” Luce said. “But you hear the little kids, especially in the summer when we’re all together. The little kids will all say, ‘I want to be just like Meggie.’ My own daughter says it.”
As Voigt swims through her final season in Bryan and looks ahead to her years at Ohio University, she says she has a number of goals left to accomplish in her swim career. In the immediate future, Voigt is aiming to better all of her times and rack up a few more podium finishes at the state meet. As for her collegiate career, both she and Luce know the sky’s the limit, especially when she’ll get the opportunity to focus on one sport and swim year-round.
Through it all, though, she’ll never forget how the Bryan swim program helped shape her.
“I like how close everyone gets,” Voigt said. “We do a lot of team bonding, and we’re together for many hours every week.
“And all the people I’ve been around for so many years, especially with summer swim, too. It’s all the same families coming together. … That’s super fun, and everyone cheers for everyone. It’s the whole family aspect of swimming.”