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Turning the tide

Morgan Scott helps Alabama evolve into contender, competes at Olympic trials


The U.S. Olympic swim team trials is the ultimate goal for most swimmers, the Holy Grail of swimming that relatively few are able achieve.
Pennridge graduate Morgan Scott can count it among the achievements of her illustrious career.
Scott, who will be entering her senior year at the University of Alabama, competed at the trials at the CHI Health Center in Omaha, Neb., June 13-20.
“When I first got there, it was kind of intimidating,” she said. “It’s a massive pool and there were a lot of hot shots walking around, but it was a great experience for me. I wasn’t expecting a lot and I didn’t want to put a lot of pressure on myself.”
She was one of 14 Alabama swimmers to compete at the trials.
“We had a lot of people go so that made it really fun and I actually have a teammate (Rhyan White) who’s going to the Olympics,” she said. “I got to witness her winning her event from the stands and I got to congratulate her. It was really fun to watch her and to see other teammates do so well.
“It’s going to make watching the Olympics really exciting.”
Scott’s top finish was 21st in the 100-meter freestyle, touching in 55.54. She also took 24th in the 50 freestyle (25.64), 28th in the 100 backstroke (1:01.66) and 38th in the 200 freestyle (2:02.30).
Because COVID moved the 2020 Olympics to 2021, the gap between summer Olympic games will only be three years instead of four.
“It’s a good thing it’s only three years,” said Scott, who was a seven-time state champion at Pennridge. “I would love to go back if I’m fortunate enough to qualify again. I’m trying to see if I can take my fifth year because the NCAA is allowing that due to COVID. So as of right now this is what I want to do if I can.”
Scott, a team captain for the Crimson Tide, had a standout meet at this year’s NCAA championships at the Greensboro Aquatic Center in Greensboro, N.C.
“We were really excited to go to NCAAs this year because we didn’t get to do that last year because of COVID,” she said. “We didn’t get to make our big statement last year, but we were able to do it this year. We showed that Alabama went from nothing to being a contender.”
Alabama finished in fifth place in team scoring with 266 points, the first top-10 finish for the Crimson Tide since 1994 and tying their best-ever finish.

The highlight of the competition for Scott was a victory in the 400-yard freestyle relay. She swam leadoff and helped the Crimson Tide to a school record time of 3:09.78 and their first-ever NCAA relay title.
She also led off the 800 freestyle relay, which finished sixth with another school record (7:00.38), swam the second leg of the sixth-place 200 freestyle relay (1:27.90) and was the butterfly leg of the 200 medley relay, which also finished sixth (1:35.80).
As an individual, she was ninth in the 200 freestyle (1:44.39).
“That was a really nice meet for us,” she said. “When we won the 400 free relay, it was amazing. I thought I was on Cloud Nine. It was a great experience for me and my teammates.”
Scott was also a key figure in Alabama’s fourth-place finish at the Southeastern Conference (SEC) championships, held at Gabrielson Natatorium in Athens, Ga. The Crimson Tide scored a school record 973 team points.
The meet started off strong with a win in the 200 medley relay. Scott swam the butterfly leg and the winning time of 1:34.68 was a school record, as well as Alabama’s first relay title since 1985.
She swam the second leg of the winning 200 freestyle relay (1:27.02, school record) and the second leg of the winning 400 freestyle relay in a pool record time of 3:10.28.
The 800 freestyle relay finished fourth with a school record time of 7:01.36 and Scott’s leadoff split of 1:43.69 was a school record for the 200 freestyle.
She was the SEC champion in the 100 freestyle with a school record time of 47.50, placed fifth in the 200 freestyle (1:44.32) and 10th in the 50 freestyle (22.07).
She was a two-time All-American at Indiana before transferring to Alabama.
“Obviously I wasn’t happy there,” she said. “It wasn’t the right fit for me and I didn’t get the opportunities I was promised.
“I’m really glad I made the move. This team has been through a lot the past seven months. It was really rough, but it was a learning experience that paid off in the end and I wouldn’t trade that for the world.”