The YMCA, Ensuring a Brighter Future

Megan Sisson

Puts Friends First On the Wave Swim Team 

While 18-year-old Megan Sisson holds many athletic and academic accomplishments, she always puts people first above winning. She's a hard-working athlete, but she loves having fun. 


Friends. Hard work. Fun. As a member of the Y's Wave Swim Team for eight years, she experienced all of that and more. She joined the team in 2004, and swam until she graduated from Onalaska High School (OHS) this spring, 2012. Being a Wave member will definitely remain one of her favorite memories.


"The Wave team, and all of the fun we had, was amazing. The coaches are amazing," Megan says. "I loved the atmosphere of all of the people. It wasn't all about being competitive all of the time and winning, but having fun."


There's no doubt that the award-winning team works hard during the season from mid-September to mid-March. Megan trained two hours a night, five to six days a week. She and her team mates put in their work, but they had fun.


"It's fun-centered," she says of the Wave. "I'll always remember joking around with everyone and being ridiculous. Swimming can be really tough and it's good to lighten it up." 


The daughter of Bill and Cathy Sisson, Megan says she'll also always recall the team's songs and cheers. These were created by Wave coach Jon Brenner, who passed away from cancer in 2010. "He made them up, and it's very special to our team that we still sing and cheer those," she says. "It has a meaning in my heart."


Competing with swim team members at nationals in 2011 is another highlight. Megan qualified with three of her best friends, when they were high school seniors and she was a junior. They had raced for several years as a team in the 200-medley relay. Eleven Wave swimmers qualified that year to compete in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.


Megan's perspective is great for her young age. She supports and encourages everyone on the team, even her rivals. Megan was trying out with another team mate for her spot in the 2011 nationals. After Megan got out of the water, she cheered on her team mate, a good friend competing against her. 


It was amazingly close: Megan won her spot by two-hundredths of one second for one relay and one-hundredth of one second for another relay.


Megan doesn't remember what place her relay team took at nationals. They were ranked somewhere in the middle of about 100 teams. "We went to do our best and to have fun," she says. "We did that so we were happy."


She's a great role model for the younger team mates, offering encouragement during practices and meets. Sectionals were the most fun for Megan because the entire team competes together for the final time. Then some members advance to state and a few others go to nationals. For some swimmers like Megan this season, they compete in their last Wave meet before high school graduation.


While growing up, swimming has been Megan's main sport. She competed with her high school's swim team in the fall and then started her season with the Wave. She also participated on the track team in pole vaulting. Another side of Megan is her interests in art and the outdoors. She loves to draw and sculpt. She enjoys hiking, biking and canoeing with her family.


Megan balances all of her athletic and artistic talents skillfully. She graduated in the Top 15 percent of her class. This fall she will attend Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, where she's considering a degree in environmental studies.


- By Kim Seidel, Seidel Ink LLC. 2012