Megan Collins' journey to continue

Her high-school swimming career may now be behind her, but for Megan Collins, a senior at Lauralton Hall, there are endless challenges ahead.

Collins, who specializes in the breaststroke, signed a letter of intent on Nov. 14, to attend Providence College on a swimming scholarship beginning next fall.

“After visiting the campus, seeing its location and taking a close look at the program, I decided it would be the perfect choice for me,” Collins said. “I’ve always dreamed about being in a Division I program and also being a part of the Big East Conference.”

Collins came to Lauralton Hall four years ago as an accomplished swimmer.

She first got in to the water as a seven-year old for the Trumbull Pisces, a youth-group program coached by Tom Farrell.

When Farrell went to the Southern Connecticut Aquatics, another age-group team in Bridgeport, Collins followed him there.

Farrell has seen her improvement all along the way.

“When you spent pretty close to 365 days a year with these kids, you learn a lot about them,” Farrell said. “Megan had a knack for the breaststroke, and when you combine that with her dedication and hard work, what you find is an accomplished person. That’s exactly what Megan is.

“She had the ability, talent and drive from very early on. You teach kids like her all you can. Now, for her, it’s on to the next level.”

Collins will continue to train and swim for Farrell in a constant search to get better.

“When you’re in the water every day, you work on the finer points,” Collins pointed out. “I work on my pull outs, getting my turns done even better and refining the tempo of my stroke.”

Collins made the All-South-West Conference team three times and she was a four-time All-Stater.

Selections are made on performance only.

The Crusaders finished second to Weston this past fall in the Class S meet, where Collins swam both the 100-yard breaststroke and with the 200-yard medley relay. The group of Mary Spillane, Collins, Dakota Meyer and Kaitlyn Joy finished second in a time of 1:52.26.

“The nicest thing about Megan is the fact that she was a model of consistency for four years,” said Lauralton Hall coach Fran Pfeiffer, who recently completed his 19th season at the school.

“She’s versatile and a pretty good freestyler. But most important of all was her loyalty to the program and her willingness to work with our younger swimmers.”

The decision to attend Lauralton Hall four years ago wasn’t a difficult one for Collins, whose younger sister Emily is also there and competes on the tennis team.

“Friends of mine from the club team went to school here,” she said. “And, they all spoke highly about Lauralton Hall. It’s been a wonderful experience and an irreplaceable part of my life.

“When I look back I couldn’t imagine having gone anywhere else.”

Come next fall, however, it will be off to Providence, where she’ll be under the watchful eyes of veteran coach John O’Neill, who’ll be completing his 25th season in the early spring.

Collins plans to major in Political Science with a minor in International Affairs. Her future may also include Law as well.

“We must’ve looked at about 20-30 schools (included in the selection process were UConn, Holy Cross, Catholic University, Union, Fordham and Boston University),” said Tom Collins, who attended his daughters’ signing along with his wife Sonia.

“Basically, it came down to Providence because of the academics. If she wasn’t a swimmer, this still would’ve been the best school for her.”

Her father hasn’t missed a single meet since Megan began competitive swimming.

“When you’re a swimmer parent, you miss a lot,” he said. “But we wouldn’t have traded this experience for anything.”