Mendota senior Bridget McGann to swim in Olympic Trials

McGann to compete in 100-yard breaststroke in June in Indianapolis

Mendota senior Bridget McGann stands on the podium after placing second in the 100-meter breaststroke at the National Club Swimming Association Summer Championships with a time of 1:09.81, which qualified her to compete in the 2024 USA Swimming Olympic Trials in June in Indianapolis.

About a month after it happened, it still doesn’t feel real for Mendota senior Bridget McGann.

McGann swam the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:09.81 at the National Club Swimming Association Summer Championships in Indianapolis to qualify for the 2024 USA Swimming Olympic Trials, which are June 15-23 in Indianapolis.

“I’m going to be 100% honest, it has not hit me yet,” McGann said. “I definitely know I had the time and I’m going to the Trials in June, but it has not hit me. It’s probably going to hit me at the meet in June. It’s just going to take time for me to actually process that I did qualify.

“But I was definitely very happy and since it’s such a big deal, my coaches and teammates, it was so crazy afterward with all the support I got.”

To make the accomplishment even better, McGann’s best friend and training partner with the Academy Bullets Swim Club, Elizabeth Nawrocki, also qualified for the Trials in the event.

Nawrocki qualified in the preliminaries and later won the event in the finals, while McGann qualified with a runner-up finish in the finals.

“That was incredible because we train with each other day, and we know how hard each of us works and how badly each of us wanted it,” McGann said. “The fact we were able to get it together was the coolest thing ever. It’s nice to know I’m not going to be going to these alone. I’m going to have my best friend with me in the same event. It’s really cool.”

McGann, who has committed to swim at the University of Wisconsin, said she doesn’t think she’d be at this level without Nawrocki.

“We’re with each other every single day at practice,” McGann said. “Every set that we train our best strokes, her and I are right next to each other or we’re in the same lane.

“We definitely push each other in practice. We each have our own strengths when it comes to our best stroke. The things I’m a little weaker on, she helps me and the things she’s a little weaker on, I can help her.”

McGann said going into the NCSA Summer Championships, she knew that was her best opportunity to qualify for the Trials.

“I was at my peak shape for that meet,” McGann said. “I put in everything over the summer for that specific meet. Before the actual race, I’d never been so nervous in my life. Right before I dove in the water, I told myself, ‘You did everything you possibly could to prepare for this moment. You have had the times in practice. You’ve done above and beyond what you needed to do, so this is your time and you’re going to get it now.’”

McGann changed up her approach going into the race.

“One thing I struggle with is not going out fast enough and then having to reel everyone back in that second half of the race, so I was able to get out really fast,” McGann said. “It allowed me not to have to try to reel everyone in because I was even with everyone that first 50 (meters).”

McGann said there’s still room for improvement.

“I’m definitely happy with the race, but I think what makes me more happy is that there were little things I can improve on,” McGann said.

McGann is off from swimming in August but then will set her sights on qualifying for the Trials in the 200 breaststroke and the 200 individual medley.

She swam a 2:32.74 at the NCSA Summer Championships in the 200 breaststroke, which is about a second off the Trials standard of 2:31.69, and she recorded a 2:18.81 in the 200 IM at the meet, which is a little more than two seconds off the standard of 2:16.09.

“When I start back in September, it’s going to take some time for me to get back feeling good in the water because I took a whole month off,” McGann said. “But after that, we’re definitely going to try and focus on some pace stuff mainly for the 200 breaststroke. That’ll help get me back in the water because it’s harder to kind of learn how to sprint again when you’ve taken a break. Once we get feeling good in the water again and I start hitting my pace more consistently, then we can start with some strength work and some resistance training to try to get my strength in the water back. Then we can focus more on sprinting and power and explosiveness in the water.”

McGann won’t have any full breaks aside from a day here and there while she’s training for the Trials.

When she has a meet to try to qualify in the 200 breaststroke and 200 IM, she’ll ramp up her training two weeks beforehand.

“Then I’ll decrease the training to focus on technique and pace,” McGann said. “Just kind of bring things down a little bit so I feel rested and good in the water for the meet.”

McGann will follow a similar plan before the Trials.

“Before the Trials, probably a month out is when we’re going to start ramping things up a lot,” McGann said. “Then two weeks before the Trials is when we’ll start to bring things down again and focus on pace work, explosiveness, all the little stuff you have to focus on and make perfect in all of your races. We’ll just bring the yardage down to we feel rested and good in the water.”