Ever since Puyallup High senior Mackenzie Mergel first hopped into the Vikings’ pool, she had one goal in mind: put her name on the school’s records board.
And that’s what Mergel has done in her swimming career as she sets her sights on this weekend’s Class 4A state swim meet at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.
“My goal was to just continue to get better every year,” Mergel said. “But since my best times were my records, and to be able to break my records again, that was good to know that I was able to get faster.”
So far in her career, Mergel has set the record in the 200-meter freestyle (1 minute, 56.08 seconds on Oct. 31) and the 100 breaststroke (1:06.54, Oct. 31). She also was a part of the record-setting 200 medley relay team at districts.
“I thought it was really exciting because it was the last record I hadn’t broken for the relays,” Mergel said of Puyallup’s 200 medley relay win at districts. “To have a freshman and a sophomore step up and help us break that record, that was really exciting.”
To reach this point in her career, it required hours upon hours in the pool, with the determination to become the best version of herself. It’s a great desire bred from the beginning.
But it’s more than just a drive in the pool, because like many of her past and present teammates, it requires that same level of dedication outside the pool as Mergel sports a 3.91 grade point average during her tenure at Puyallup.
But that’s the life of someone on the move — someone like Mergel who lives within their vision. Her goals outside the pool are just as great (computer science) as they are in it. It’s passion to accomplish preset goals that motivates the senior.
“I get to school, then it’s high school swim and then club swim right after,” Mergel said with a laugh. “I don’t get home until 9 o’clock, and then I have homework, so I no time for anything (else).”
So as Mergel approaches Friday’s start date for state swim, it’s just another day she’s already seen. It’s one last time in high school she can break her own records, both solo and as part of a team. Mergel’s career won’t be measured by her results this weekend, that’s for certain.
“Just to be able to break your (original) goals, and then to be able to set new ones and break those shows determined and capable of achieving what you wanted to,” Mergel said. “For me it’s a little bittersweet — to come to high school wanting to leave my mark. I think after five records, along with my team, I’ve accomplished what I set out to do.”
Those measurements already hang on a wall inside Puyallup’s pool.