This year, Megan Melgaard, a seasoned athlete, swimmer, and coach, is excited to share her knowledge with students as she begins her first year as a Berkeley High School (BHS) head swim coach.
Melgaard was born in Mission Viejo, California, and her swimming career began at a “mommy and me” swim class when she was six years old. Her first coaching experience was at age 14 for a local country club. Melgaard went on to swim for her high school, the University of Florida, the US National Team, and the World Masters Championships. Melgaard said that she aspires to “[make] sure [she] can support an athlete’s whole self, not just from a swimming perspective.” She aims to encourage “character, growth, goals, learning, and supporting one another.”
Melgaard was drawn to the sport for both the physical practice and learning environment. “I’ve found that I really love the technical aspect of swimming … the training and growth, as well as developing a person’s confidence and character.” Melgaard’s coaching career was sparked by a desire to share her passion for swimming through teaching. “I get great joy in seeing other people succeed, which led to my desire to jump in and continue coaching as part of my career and part of my life,” said Melgaard.
Melgaard’s grandfather inspired her to get to where she is today. She said he “always had such a positive attitude and really impacted me.” Melgaard also looks up to the many people in the swimming field she’s gotten to work with, such as Eddie Reese, a coach at the University of Texas, and Dave Durban, a coach at the University of California. Those role models encouraged her, and Melgaard has now amassed a large list of achievements, including playing the part of Megan Hyde in the movie The Guardian, alongside actors Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher.
Aside from swimming, Melgaard is an adventure junkie. She loves to paddleboard, kayak, and take walks along the beach with her dog. One of her greatest personal achievements has been “seeing the athletes that I coach succeed as [individuals]. It’s a wonderful personal achievement and one that still continues.”
Melgaard aspires to guide the swimming program in a positive direction. Melgaard advises, “Stay positive, do the work, set goals, and move towards achieving those goals. It’s not about being the fastest swimmer in the pool, a lot of it’s about character and how you approach the sport.” Finally, Melgaard said, “I am incredibly honored to be a part of the [BHS] community, it’s already been a great start and I’m really excited to see what the future holds.”