ST. CLAIR SHORES — St. Clair Shores senior swimmer Megan Palazzolo has a lighthearted approach when it comes to preparing for events.
“I just like to go out and have fun,” she said. “I go in knowing what I need to do, though, at every turn, so the mental preparation is there, too.”
That approach has led to the senior qualifying for the 2012 Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 2 state finals, set for Nov. 16-17 at Oakland University.
“It’s really unbelievable. I feel like I’m dreaming,” said Palazzolo, who qualified for the finals in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle events. “This was one of my goals, and I knew how much hard work was needed to do it.”
Palazzolo recorded her best time in both events at a Michigan Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association event Oct. 13 at Bloomfield Hills Andover High. The senior swam the 200 free in 2 minutes, 0.13 seconds. Palazzolo swam the 500 free in 5:36.25.
The accomplishment is a great one for the program, according to Huskies swim coach Brooke White, in her second year with the girls program. White said Palazzolo is the first individual state qualifier the school has had since 2004.
A Huskies relay team qualified for the state finals last year, according to White.
“She’s grown so much as a person and swimmer,” said White, who coached the Huskies’ boys swim team for two years prior to taking over the girls squad.
“She always gives her all. She takes coaching in all the time and works to get better every day. I’m glad to see something like this happen to somebody who definitely deserves it.”
White and Palazzolo are even more proud of the accomplishment because of how the Lakeview senior had to overcome injuries in order to compete this season.
Palazzolo sustained injuries to both shoulders last season, meaning she couldn’t compete as hard as she would have liked, according to White.
“This is the first year I’ve coached her that she’s been totally healthy, and look what she’s done,” White said.
“I’m not having any problems with (my shoulders),” Palazzolo said. “I just swim to
the best of my ability and try not to worry about them.”
Palazzolo is hoping to continue swimming at the collegiate level. She said she’s looking at either a Division 2 or Division 3 school. She plans to major in either biochemistry or forensic science.
“I just want to be able to swim and get a good education,” Palazzolo said.