Maggie Halloran, a freshman swimmer, has been astonishing in her first season with the Buffs. The freestyle and backstroke specialist from Columbia, S.C., has been swimming for 11 years prior to coming to Milligan.
“I started looking at big colleges, but one day I realized I didn’t want to go to a big school,” Holloran said. In November of her senior year of high school she started to look at small Christian colleges.
Halloran heard about Milligan through her father, who was helping his daughter research small Christian colleges. Together they set up recruiting trips throughout North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. Halloran’s father contacted swim coach Kelly Essler and told her that they were coming to Milligan for a recruiting visit–and the rest is history.
Halloran came into Milligan specializing in freestyle and backstroke, but her seasoned ability has allowed her to swim the individual medley as well, a race in which the swimmer swims butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle.
In such a short time, Halloran has become a huge asset to the Milligan swim team. She has qualified for six National A cuts, several B cuts and is looking for more.
“Halloran has raised the bar,” coach Kelly Essler said, adding that “she sets other standards for the team” as well.
Halloran starts by raising these standards in practice, pushing the rest of her team to hit their times. She said that her mentality changes as soon as she hits the water. She leaves the troubles of the day behind her, and her mindset becomes fully focused on how to be a better swimmer.
When in the water Halloran pushes herself to the limit.
“I just push harder when it hurts,” Halloran said in reference to practice and meets.
For her it is not about beating the person next to her. It is about racing herself and knowing she did her best each time.
Halloran’s first season is ending soon; with conferences coming up, the freshman swimmer is hoping to win at least two or three races and, like always, lower her times.
Her national goals are also high. She hopes to advance to the final heat in all of her races as a freshman, a hard accomplishment for anyone. Eventually Halloran wishes to win one of her races at nationals.
Even though Halloran has many personal goals, she does not place those goals above the team. Halloran continually askes herself if what she is doing is best for the team.
Coach Essler sees Halloran developing into a leader and a future mentor of the girls’ team as an upperclassman, adding that “she has become the face of Milligan swimming” because of how fast she is as well as how hard she works.
Halloran desires to develop as a good role model for the team.
“After college I want to have friendships that will last a lifetime,” Halloran said. “I want the team to have a strong family feeling about it.”
Halloran continues to swim not only for herself, or even for her team, but ultimately to glorify God. She recognizes that God has given her this talent and thinks it would be foolish not to use it. Halloran believes that life is about more than only swimming.
The future is bright for this rising star of the swim team.
The Buffs have Conference championships Feb. 8–10 in Kingsport, Tenn., and National Championships Feb. 28–March 3 in Columbus, Ga.