Already a two-time state qualifier in the 100-yard backstroke, junior Morgan McCafferty of the Reynoldsburg High School girls swimming and diving team had an eye-opening experience earlier this season.
On Dec. 21 in the Mount Vernon Invitational, she won the 100 back in 1 minute, .34 of a second and surprised herself by winning the 200 individual medley in 2:13.73.
After having the 100 butterfly as her second individual event the past two postseasons, McCafferty tested the idea Jan. 25 in the OCC-Ohio Division meet at Thomas Worthington that she might be better served to compete in the 200 IM.
She went on to win the 200 IM in 2:09.67, providing the proof she needed.
McCafferty, who then followed with a title in the 100 back and a third-place finish in the 200 IM in a sectional Feb. 8 at Upper Arlington, won a district title Feb. 15 at Ohio State in the 100 back in a personal-best 56.01.
She also earned a runner-up finish in the 200 IM in 2:03.26 to automatically qualify for the state meet Thursday, Feb. 20, through Saturday, Feb. 22, at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
McCafferty finished just behind Gahanna's Morgan Belli (2:03.1) in the 200 IM at district.
"After nationals (Dec. 13 in Greensboro, N.C.), I went to an invitational and I swam 2:13 (in the 200 IM), so I gave it a chance at the OCC meet," McCafferty said. "I talked to my coaches about it and decided to do it (for the postseason).
"(Belli) got me by 16/100ths of a second. She and I were just neck-and-neck the whole way."
Reynoldsburg finished 11th (84) at district behind champion Upper Arlington (522.5) as 24 teams scored. The boys did not have any district qualifiers.
McCafferty, whose personal-best in the 100 back entering district was 57.04, is seeded fourth at state in the 100 back and third in the 200 IM. She was 12th at state in the 100 back as a freshman and 10th a year ago in that event.
"It was amazing: I finally broke 57 (seconds in the 100 back) and I've been sitting on that for three years," McCafferty said. "I want to get 54 (at state). I just have to recover the best I can, sleep and eat."
McCafferty also helped the 400 free relay reach the podium at district with an eighth-place finish (3:43.37). She was joined in the event by juniors Marisa Glusich and Leah Svoboda and sophomore Acadia Gaver.
Gaver dropped more than seven seconds off her sectional time while placing 15th in the 200 IM (2:16.04) and more than 15 seconds off her sectional time while finishing ninth in the 500 free (5:21.94). She came in seeded 25th in the 200 IM and 22nd in the 500 free.
Gaver, Glusich, McCafferty and Svoboda also swam on the 200 medley relay that placed 10th, missing the podium by two spots while recording a season-best 1:51.73.
"Everybody was just so happy," Gaver said. "We all felt like we're pretty close and we're just super happy to (make the podium) and set a school record (in the 400 free relay).
"I'm a sophomore and the other three (on the 200 medley and 400 free relays) are juniors, which means we can come back next year and kill it."